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Expert knowledge in times of transformation 
David Demortain (INRAE)
Fiona Kinniburgh (Technical University of Munich)
Silke Beck (TUM)
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Bastien Soutjis (Laboratoire Interdisciplinaire Sciences Innovations Sociétés (LISIS))
Traditional Open Panel

Short Abstract:

Expert knowledge, including the ‘regulatory’ sciences that contribute to the assessment and regulation of policy problems, seem to witness pluralization. We invite papers that look at the ecology of expertise in various areas of governance, to assess and understand its transformations.

Long Abstract:

Most policy areas witness an emerging plurality of expertises. Expertise may be broadly defined as sets of knowledge methods and claims that contribute to the framing of a policy problem, and of the policies or rules to govern it. Whether one thinks of climate change, biodiversity collapse, chemical pollution or many other broad environmental, health or risk issues, we observe that no single epistemic community monopolizes expertise and controls the science-policy interface. Even the most demarcated areas of expert knowledge, e.g. climate modeling, sustainability assessment or regulatory sciences such as toxicological risk assessment, seem to take the form of more complex ecologies of expertise. Various epistemic forms and groups emerge in these areas, and coexist, compete or hybridize over time. This pluralization of expertise is exacerbated by socio-ecological transformations and their politics. Experts are invited to provide “solutions” rather than simply detect risks and attribute causality, and effectively do so through multiples modes of engagement, in the many arenas and levels of polycentric regimes of governance. The production of knowledge for global environmental assessments – the IPCC, IPBES, and the new interface on chemicals, waste and pollution — are cases in point. We invite papers that describe expert knowledge and regulatory sciences in times of transformation: what are the different epistemic forms and groups that rise and fall, coexist and compete over time in a given area of governance? Is this diversity of expertise indeed increasing or not, and what are the similarities and differences between different policy areas from this standpoint? How does this diversity enact and constrain the politics of societal transformations? Do they either give permanence to the existing state of affairs or help further new lines of policy action, and if so, with what political consequences?

Accepted papers: