The Inscience of Translation

Douglas Jack Robinson

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Drawing on Henri Meschonnic’s notion of an “inscient ethics,” and putting “inscience” into dialogue with the old ideal of a “science” of translation, the article explores the collective socio-affective ecologies that organize and regulate social and professional norms and values of translation below the level of conscious awareness—as the true underlying structure not only of “subjectivity” (somatics) but also of “objectivity” (“desomatized science”). Two models are developed for this dual structuring, the first circular or cyclical, with “objectification/desomatization” down one side and “subjectification/somatization” up the other; the other based on Gregory Bateson’s theorization of the double-bind, with both sides recursively intertwined. The circular model is developed in dialogue with Shoshana Felman; the double-bind model in dialogue with Juliane House’s model of Translation Quality Assessment. Both point us further to a retheorization of socio-affective ecologies in terms of ecosis/icosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-40
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Society, Culture and Language
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014

User-Defined Keywords

  • (In)science
  • Desomatization
  • Icosis
  • Ecosis
  • Double-blind


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