Collins, Harry, Robert Evans, and Mike Gorman. “Trading Zones and Interactional Expertise.” Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 38, no. 4 (December 2007): 657–66.

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July 3, 2018

Critical Commentary

Abstract: The phrase ‘trading zone’ is often used to denote any kind of interdisciplinary partnership in which two or more perspectives are combined
and a new, shared language develops. In this paper we distinguish between different types of trading zone by asking whether the
collaboration is co-operative or coerced and whether the end-state is a heterogeneous or homogeneous culture. In so doing, we find that
the voluntary development of a new language community—what we call an inter-language trading zone—represents only one of four
possible configurations. In developing this argument we show how different modes of collaboration result in different kinds of trading
zone, how different kinds of trading zone may be ‘nested’ inside each other and discuss how a single collaboration might move between
different kinds of trading zone over time. One implication of our analysis is that interactional expertise is a central component of at least
one class of trading zone.