Introduction to Polyphasic Dispersed Systems Theory

Jacques Thierie
Published in: Springer
Release Year: 2016
ISBN: 978-3-319-27853-7
Pages: 210
Edition: 1st
File Size: 4 MB
File Type: pdf
Language: English

Description of Introduction to Polyphasic Dispersed Systems Theory

In their introduction to the book, “The Biotechnology Revolution?” (Fransman et al. 1995), the authors place biotechnology in the “new technological paradigm,” along with microelectronics, IT, and new materials. In this particular context (that of the new paradigm), biotechnology must obviously be made up of the same parts as new (or modern) biotechnology (just as it is for example, defined socioeconomically by Freeman 1995). It is not made up of the group of separate (bio)techniques, essentially fermentation, that have accompanied humanity for centuries, even for millennia, and which have given us alcohols, cheeses, sauerkraut, and so many other foods.

Whether modern biotechnology is a real technological revolution, or not, is however beside the point. What attracts us more from the incontestable rise of the phenomenon is the evidence, within the domain of ideas, of the status of life sciences. Both socially and economically, considerable advances in medicine, food-processing, and in environmental studies obviously still conferred an unimaginable importance to biology up to the nineteenth century and even up to the beginning of the twentieth century. However, this does not constitute a change in the paradigm (in the sense of “disciplinary matrix” from Kuhn (Chalmers 1988; Kuhn 1983)). The intervening modification of nature in the science of living things is linked to its rise to the rank of technology. Basically, biotechnology associates living things and the process of production that has been mastered (for example).
Thus appeared a pluridisciplinary approach that integrated materials that were essentially biological (biochemistry, microbiology...) and techniques that could be qualified as physicochemical. These techniques display features that are the fruit of a long evolution and they are both theoretical and quantitative. In reality, it is often the theorization of a group of phenomena that makes them quantifiable. So, biotechnology appears to us as the emergence of a pluridisciplinary material where the constraints on technical and economical performances are going to extend the properties of quantification and theorization of the “hard sciences” to the description of living things.
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