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The Third Wave and populism: Scientific expertise as a check and balance

Collins, Harold ORCID:, Evans, Robert ORCID:, Durant, Darrin and Weinel, Martin 2023. The Third Wave and populism: Scientific expertise as a check and balance. Eyal, Gil and Medvetz, Thomas, eds. The Oxford Handbook of Expertise and Democratic Politics The Oxford Handbook of Expertise and Democratic Politics, Oxford University Press, pp. 52-77. (10.1093/oxfordhb/9780190848927.001.0001)

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This chapter draws on the Third Wave of Science Studies to argue that science is needed to resist the rise of populism in modern democracies. Wave Three of science studies focuses on expertise and values to characterize science as “craftwork with integrity” and justify science’s centrality in modern societies. This contrasts with Wave One, which treated science as an epistemically superior way of creating true knowledge, and Wave Two, which showed that science was neither certain nor independent of social context and hence put too much emphasis on public involvement. By focusing on values, not truth, Wave Three shows that there is no necessary conflict between science, however esoteric, and democracy and that science can play a leadership role in democracy as an object lesson in decision-making with integrity and as a check and balance on populism. Promulgating this new understanding of science is important as neither democracy nor science will endure unless citizens understand them sufficiently to reject populist leaders for violating its norms and values. The chapter concludes by calling for a program of civic education teaching the nature of democracy and the role of science within it.

Item Type: Book Section
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Centre for the Study of Knowledge Expertise and Science (KES)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780190848927
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 24 April 2023
Last Modified: 22 Jan 2024 11:20

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