An academic discipline, or field of study, is a branch of knowledge that is taught and researched at the college or university level. Disciplines are defined (in part), and recognized by the academic journals in which research is published, and the learned societies and academic departments or faculties to which their practitioners belong.
Academic disciplines tend to co-evolve with systems of professions. The academic disciplines and professions may be said to 'own' knowledge and the privilege/responsibility of validating/authorizing new knowledge extensions in particular disciplinary areas. For example, astronomers define what is and is not a planet, and so the knowledge about the status of Pluto as a planet can change.
Pierce (1991, p. 22-23) writes: "Although most studies fail to define the term explicitly, they typically assume that boundaries of disciplines closely follows those of academic departments. The use of such boundaries may seem to fix overly concrete limits on a highly abstract phenomenon, excluding too large a number of people with interest in the subject. But its importance in creating and maintaining disciplinary communities makes the academic department the building block from which disciplines are created".
Fields of study usually have several sub-disciplines or branches, and the distinguishing lines between these are often both arbitrary and ambiguous.
Other articles related to "disciplines":
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Famous quotes containing the word discipline:
“Counsel men to discipline their children, but not to divorce their wives.”