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The Third Wave of science studies: studies of expertise and experience

Collins, H.M. and Evans, R. 2002. The Third Wave of science studies: studies of expertise and experience. [Working Paper]. School of Social Sciences Working Papers Series, vol. 25. Cardiff: Cardiff University.

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Science studies has shown us why science and technology cannot always solve technical problems in the public domain. In particular, the speed of political decision-making is faster than the speed of scientific consensus formation. A predominant motif over recent years has been the need to extend the domain of technical decision-making beyond the technically qualified elite so as to enhance political legitimacy. We argue, however, that the `Problem of Legitimacy' has been replaced the `Problem of Extension.' This is a tendency to dissolve the boundary between experts and the public so that there are no longer any grounds for limiting the indefinite extension of technical decision-making rights. We argue that a Third Wave of science studies -- Studies of Expertise and Experience (SEE) -- is needed to solve the Problem of Extension. SEE will include a normative theory of expertise and will disentangle expertise from political rights in technical decision-making. The theory builds categories of expertise starting with the key distinction between interactive expertise and contributory expertise. A new categorisation of types of science is also needed. We illustrate the potential of the approach by re-examining existing case studies including Wynne's study of Cumbrian sheep farmers. Sometimes the new theory argues for more public involvement, sometimes for less. An Appendix describes existing contributions to the problem of technical decision-making in the public domain.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Publisher: Cardiff University
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 08 Oct 2015 13:26

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