Category: Experts

Politics and expertise: How to use science in a democratic society

The Covid-19 pandemic has underlined the importance of scientific advice to modern policymaking. But how can the use of expertise in politics be aligned with the needs and values of the public? Drawing on a recent book, Zeynep Pamuk sets out a new mode…

We live in the age of performative academia, is this such a bad thing?

It is relatively rare for social scientists as individuals to break through into the mainstream media. However, in recent weeks, two profiles of successful figures in the worlds of academia and academic publishing have featured in popular publications,…

Book Review: Politics and Expertise: How to Use Science in a Democratic Society by Zeynep Pamuk

In Politics and Expertise: How to Use Science in a Democratic Society, Zeynep Pamuk reimagines the relationship between democratic politics and scientific expertise, exploring the possibility of new political institutions that would make experts more a…

Net Zero, Natural Solutions and COP26: How expert knowledge can risk closing down rather than opening up the politics of climate change.

As the COP26 summit gathers pace, Tim Forsyth reflects on the role played by expert knowledge in shaping the potential outcomes of the summit. As a consensus begins to emerge around Net Zero targets and Natural Solutions to climate change, he suggests …

Are experts complicit in making their advice easy for politicians to ignore?

The role of experts in policymaking and debates over the extent to which politicians are being ‘led by the science’ have become prominent in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Here, Christiane Gerblinger argues that, rather than being a simple case of …

The public places more trust in scientists and politicians, when they appear individually, rather than together, to communicate COVID-19 public health measures

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, politicians have been accompanied by scientists when communicating the need for anti-contagion measures. In this post, Mike Farjam discusses the results of a joint Italian/Swedish experiment into public attitudes towar…

Book Review: Inevitably Toxic: Historical Perspectives on Contamination, Exposure and Expertise edited by Brinda Sarathy, Vivien Hamilton and Janet Farrell Brodie

In Inevitably Toxic: Historical Perspectives on Contamination, Exposure and Expertise, editors Brinda Sarathy, Vivien Hamilton and Janet Farrell Brodie bring together contributors in a timely call to place ‘toxicity’ back at the centre of public health discussions, exploring different toxic landscapes in North America and Japan to denaturalise the presence of inorganic contaminants in an environment. Revealing toxicity as the outcome … Continued

The fragmentation of federal expertise has enabled the politicisation of Covid-19 numbers in the USA

As in any emergency or disaster, institutional agreement over the statistics of the Covid-19 pandemic is incredibly important. During the crisis, President Trump has questioned federally requested research around the spread of the pandemic and the amount of equipment needed to tackle it. Philip Rocco writes on how Trump’s efforts to undermine a common understanding of … Continued

Do social media companies undervalue the expertise of online communities?

Type vaccines into twitter and under a new initiative you will be prompted towards information supplied by expert institutions such as the NHS or US Department of Health and Human Services. However, by directing audiences to these sources, do social media companies overlook the important role played by online communities of lay experts? In this post Stefania Vicari explores how […]