Experts – S3 5/13/2013 6:03:00 AM
Are we taking expertise for grated? How can we not
Klienman – is there tension b/w democracy and expertise – b/c experts are an elite
(minority) making decision for the masses. Wants individuals to have a say in the decision
process through ordinary voting on what is going to count as science (not saying you can
make decisions for everything). Views like this can lead to experts being undermined /
losing their status.
Collins and Evans are giving another view – diff idea of demos: often the more ppl involved
the more legitimate it is, but what does that do to the status of expertise. Shouldn’t the
opinion of experts count for more than others (views count for more than others in decision
making). Using this model of demos they add on the concern of expertise and their
knowledge. They believe a democratic regime will leave space for experts – technical issues
only, their view should count for more than lay people.
1. Neither is a straight case for either leave/or don’t leave it to experts (both middle of the
spectrum kind of).
2. They offer times when we should and should not listen to experts – but is that the
norm? No, we have to rethink how we think of expertise.
Page 23 has quotes on the tension b/w politics and science.
We know expertise is not perfect and partial (Klienman), they agree. But they believe they
don’t follow his recommendation (more and more ppl involved). They say in some phases
more ppl are needed, and in others less. Collins and Evans say the ideal of expertise (as
being perfect) is false – there is no perfect science. If you ditch the idea of perfect science
we emerge with a much better understanding of science.
Klienman thesis (p3-4) – more and more people involved improves decisions
Collins and Evans (p24-5) – to improve decision making you should pay attention to those
who know what their talking about. (in each particular phase, b/c in various phases different
people know more than others).
1. To know more you have to separate it into phases.
They both offer examples of expertise (France):
Realist (Collins and Evans): Does is make sense to say the person had a skill that they no
longer have (or is it just not being recognized). They say it’s a ubiquitous skill (widely
distributed skill). We still retain our expertise – the level of valuation changes. Politically this matters b/c you are asking how do they have their skill, why, and can I be lost – it can be
acknowledged and verified. [a possession, acquired somehow].
Problem of democracy: They say there is no complete solution (25). We have to
live with the tension and figure out how to live with it. (pragmatic view)
Attributional/ Relationist (Klienman): expertise is what people say is expertise (known via
attribution) – speaking French in France vs. Australia. Status of something can change
depending on what people are saying about a particular thing. (Idealist). [your renting the
expertise, it was delegated to you – metaphor]
Offer strategies for overcoming the obstacles (optimistic view)
Folk Wisdom (p.6): Collins and Evans dispute the claim that ordinary ppl are wiser than
experts in some technical areas. The further you step back form science the less clear it
becomes, understanding does not come through observing the surface. In order to
understand the technical you have to submerge yourself further into the sci