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Trading Zones and Interactional ExpertiseCreating New Kinds of Collaboration$
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Michael E. Gorman

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780262014724

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262014724.001.0001

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Trading with the Enemy

Trading with the Enemy

(p.25) 3 Trading with the Enemy
Trading Zones and Interactional Expertise

Peter Galison

The MIT Press

This chapter presents a narrative of the discoveries and frustrations that led the author to emphasize trading zones. Finding evidence for the locality of practice in science, he studied the anthropology literature to see how these scientific subcultures, each with its own language, could connect, and discovered that they form trading zones in which participants create first a shared jargon, then a pidgin, and finally a creole. Scientific disciplines, like languages, emerge out of this process of hybridization. The chapter raises several objections to the idea of trading zones and then answers them, and also extends the concept of a creole to diagrams. It views interactional expertise as similar to the kind of “out-talk” carried on by scientists and engineers as they work together in trading zones, discussing practical research problems in ways that experts from another field can understand.

Keywords:   trading zones, jargon, pidgin, creole, scientific disciplines, interaction expertise

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