Savoirs En Prisme [1] (ISSN 2260-7838) is a journal created on the initiative of several members of the CIRLEP research centre (EA 4299, University of Reims Champagne Ardenne) but it is independent of that centre and is managed by researchers belonging to various teams. Until 2016, the journal had one issue per year, but now there are two.

The scientific direction of this review should not be reduced to a single theoretical position : it is first of all designed as operational and exploratory. Its aim is to allow the emergence of a space for discussion, transmission and the exposure to various disciplines. By that, we refer to the critical imperative of rubbing approaches, notions, disciplines against each other like flints in order to strike new sparks. Our scientific objective is not to confine ourselves to the juxtaposition of the contributions but to embrace the multiplicity of methods and theories. Thus, these various approaches, whether they relate to interdisciplinarity ot transdisciplinarity, could open an inclusive space for discussion.

In order to define its editorial line, SEP (Savoirs En Prisme) favours a heuristic and dialogic approach generating the complementarity of disciplines while avoiding disciplinary compartmentalization : thus, would be given a full account of the synergies at the confluence of disciplines in the constantly evolving progress of learning.

What could be called the transmutation of concepts is often crucial in conceptual and literary invention.In fact, one truly invents when transferring a concept from one field of learning to another, inserting it into the prism of another truly invented thought system.

The partitions between domains can sometimes be as tenuous as membranes and inventive research has to make breakthroughs knowing that the human mind aspires to a full understanding – did not Nicolas de Cues aspire to a system that would be both the instrument and the object of understanding ? ; but, not being able to grasp everything precisely, the human mind organizes, discriminates (hence separates) in order to better examine. In the same way as it creates a partition, it may move it, if not pull it down. The spirit of Savoirs En Prisme is precisely founded on a reflection upon the limits between the various domains of learning, made even more conspicuous by languages and cultures, and also on the tensions between conceptual borrowings and inventions.The main question at the origin of SEP is actually the use and life of concepts which have been introduced into a discipline but have matured in the compost of another field of research, be it studies on civilization, languages, visual arts, philosophy, literature or linguistics. The life and circulation of concepts – what Mieke Bal calls travelling concepts – leads to a work of legitimization, clarification, dissemination, which sometimes entails transpositions into other areas of learning. Thus, Darwin refers to Newton’s borrowing of the concept of attraction from the domains of chemistry and magnetism.

We may consider that conceptual borrowing falls into two main categories : it may be terminological, hence conceptual – Darwin’s borrowing of the notion of selection from the domain of chemistry – it may also be methodological – the borrowing of an intellectual process or of the determinations of a concept in order to justify a hypothesis, Goethe’s borrowing of the notion of elective affinities with a view to studying the human psyche. The interest of these conceptual borrowings lies in the fact that they justify one another.

The transfer of concepts into other territories of thought no doubt broadens the scope of academic domains : it allows theoretical returns and permits to think these concepts within their original territory but also in the light of the critical profanations of which they have been the object. In addition, these forms of critical profanation seem to raise an issue of current research that involves de-essentializing the critique and making the theoretical domains foreign to themselves through the exploration of practices and concepts they were not meant to use before, thus creating new forms more akin to transdisciplinarity than interdisciplinarity. Neither systematic nor prescriptive, this approach is indeed not without risks, yet it gives research the possibility not only to develop on a territory but to become a progress and start a deep questioning with a view to avoiding the confinement in interpretation grids that fossilize their tools as well as their object of studies.

Each issue of Savoirs En Prisme is an attempt to think out the conceptual borrowings and sometimes the wanderings of the travelling concepts at work in evolving learning. Our welcoming of several languages in this review is an indication of our wish to combine multilingualism with the geographic extension of the scientific encounter it promotes. The fact that authors are invited to collaborate by writing four-handed papers also reflects our concern to ensure learning and experience exchange.

Transdisciplinarity is to be experienced because it is not a pre-existing field of research : for this very reason, we consider that all the paths leading to a fruitful encounter of disciplines – whether they originate from multidisciplinarity or interdisciplinarity – and testing out their permeability are challenging exploratory undertakings.


[1] A tentative translation could be « Prismoidal Learning ».