A transdisciplinary approach means the intelligent combination of a number of different factors when observing and analyzing. These factors change in time and in dependence of each other. It requires to always consider there have been multiple developments influencing a phenomenon. These are, of course, always visible, and neither can everyone see them at first sight. The latter is because human beings have different backgrounds and undergo, just as every phenomenon, different developments. Therefore, it is never possible to see the 100 percent, but only to reach a close approximation when thinking, reflecting, analyzing. One can only try to find the maximum of a network of multiple interacting factors.

And this means there is always something left unknown of which even the extent is unknown – which has to be permanently considered – including the fact that others may highly probably see more, other or even less aspects than oneself is seeing. Actually, this means that you can only try to reach the most possible depending your own capacity.

Anyhow, there are political scientists like Rancière saying political and democratic acting requires the consideration of what is generally not being considered (Nick 2016). Those are the voices in society usually being suppressed and not being heard. It is about a thinking out of the usual, out of the given framework system and out of what is visible. This political acting requires considering the unknown, which is the percentage remaining from the whole picture generally being only approximated. And so, following an interdisciplinary and political approach and trying to find what is behind the visible keeps the observer or researcher “awake”, looking for more than is obvious and prevents him from prejudging. As a result, the research or the process of finding a solution is a never ending process.

So, one can try different concepts and solutions for his or her problem always considering a maximum of interacting factors and trying to find what is not obvious and visible. Here are two short examples from different fields:

When there is an old almost abandoned village it may be recommendable to find out about the inhabitants’ reasons and focus on their concerns instead of just looking at the facts.

And when there is a person with an unusual behavior seeming impolite to you, this person might have a number of reasons for this behavior but does not intend to be impolite. Maybe the person is hearing impaired and just does not hear what is being said and it is therefore difficult for him or her to communicate.

So, it seems that when following an interdisciplinary and political approach, it is also important to focus on the individual, seeing it in the network of multiple factors.


Nick, F. (2016): Post-Politik und Widerstand: Das Climate Action Network in der UN-Klimarahmenkonvention. In: Development Geography Occasional Paper 8. Bonn.