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Expert no more? Digital technologies and the transformation of expertise 
Livia Garofalo (Data Society Research Institute)
Joan Mukogosi (Data Society)
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Alexa Hagerty (University of Cambridge)
Traditional Open Panel

Short Abstract:

Digital technologies are transforming expertise, challenging traditional models of knowledge generation, altering how expertise is attributed. We invite scholars to reflect on how expertise is being mediated, transformed, and reimagined by digital technologies and configurations.

Long Abstract:

Expertise has long been a topic of scholarship and reflection as a form of mastery formally institutionalized in education systems (Abbott 1988) that carries social capital and regulatory power (Bourdieu 1975; Irwin et. al 1997). Expertise, as enactment (Carr 2010), is both embodied in practice and distributed through collaborative performance (Collins & Evans 2007; Dreyfus & Dreyfus 2005). More recently, scholars have reflected on the decline and transformation of professions and their authority, which has been called a “crisis of expertise.” (Eyal 2019). Digital technologies and social media have in many ways democratized access to knowledge and the bypassing of some professional expertise (Milan 2016). “Professional experts” themselves, in turn, participate in the dissemination of their knowledge on platforms where their expertise is contested as is embraced. At the same time, there has been a delegation and attribution of expertise to non-human agents (medical devices, generative AI, algorithmic management, etc) that often obscures the human labor and expertise invested in their creation.

Building upon recent formulations examining the manifestations and impacts of digital transformations of expertise (Burrell & Forcade 2021; Hafezieh and Pollock 2018; Lember and Brandsen 2019) we invite papers that reflect on how expertise is being mediated, transformed, and reimagined by digital technologies and configurations (i.e. wearables, platforms, care portals, personal data). We ask scholars to consider questions such as: How is expertise transformed through platformization? What can distributed or cultural notions of expertise contribute to frameworks of trust online? We are particularly interested in papers that center Black, Indigenous, queer, disabled, and majority world perspectives to understand how expertise is being rethought and reimagined and how digital technologies are contributing to this transformation.

Accepted papers: