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ArticleName “Trade Zones” and technoscience
DOI 10.17580/gzh.2023.06.07
ArticleAuthor Mikeshin M. I.

Saint-Petersburg Mining University, Saint-Petersburg, Russia:

M. I. Mikeshin, Research Director, Problem Lab of Social Sciences & Humanities, Doctor of Philosophy, Associate Professor,


The paper discusses problems of scientific communication, which draw attention of the Technical Council for Geomechanics. The positivist concept of the universal scientific language is outdated and cannot explain current developments of technoscience. Concepts that divided science into “paradigms,” “subcultures,” “layers” also failed to explain the possibility of communication in science. It is obvious that real interactions take place, that there are languages of scientific exchange, interlanguages of very different degrees of development. To interpret problems and to offer their possible solutions for technoscience, it is proposed to use P. Galison’s concept of “exchange zones.” It turns out that the concept allows describing the interactions of the participants at the initial stage of communication, when an interlanguage has not yet been created, and to trace the advance of the “zone” into a matured scientific discipline with its own full-fledged language. The “trade zone” is a space where not only common things are found, but differences are constantly maintained. A fullfledged interaction implies preservation of the most important features of the participants. Communication becomes possible locally despite fundamental global differences. At the initial stage, for the implementation of communication, it is not the unity and similarity of
the contributors that are important, but their conceptual simplifications, limitations, disorder and disunity. Just these features give science strength and internal coherence. H. Collins proposes an extension of Galison’s concept, classifying “exchange zones” and discussing the development of intermediary languages. In 2017–2018 Russian philosophers of science organized a discussion about “trade zones” on the pages of philosophical journals. The concept seems to be quite popular today in the academic world. The most important “zones” are the interfaces between industrial and humanitarian discourses and digital technologies.

keywords Scientific communication, exchange zone, P. Galison, H. Collins, local interactions, interlanguage, technoscience

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