Knowledge on the Move Between Logistics and Translation

by Brett Neilson

Abstract: Translation and logistics are often considered distinct and opposed activities.
The former is a social practice that produces boundaries and connections between languages, cultures and forms of life. The latter is a technical operation that contributes to the production of value by creating efficiencies of communication and transport. This paper takes translation and logistics as twin analytical pincers in which to examine the changing politics and economy of knowledge in the contemporary capitalist world. Particular attention is given to the sociotechnical systems that enable practices of translation and the role of social and cultural negotiation in facilitating movement along the logistical chains that support global production. By examining the terms and the limits of the overlap
between translation and logistics, the paper investigates its implications for the global arrangement of space and time as well as the subjective stakes of labor in the production of knowledge.



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