What does it mean to be an expert? In Rethinking Expertise, Harry Collins and Robert Evans offer a radical new perspective on the role of expertise in the practice of science and the public evaluation of technology.
Collins and Evans present a Periodic Table of Expertises based on the idea of tacit knowledge—knowledge that we have but cannot explain. They then look at how some expertises are used to judge others, how laypeople judge between experts, and how credentials are used to evaluate them. Throughout, Collins and Evans ask an important question: how can the public make use of science and technology before there is consensus in the scientific community? This book has wide implications for public policy and for those who seek to understand science and benefit from it.
“Starts to lay the groundwork for solving a critical problem—how to restore the force of technical scientific information in public controversies, without importing disguised political agendas.”—Nature
“A rich and detailed ‘periodic table’ of expertise . . . full of case studies, anecdotes and intriguing experiments.”—Times Higher Education Supplement (UK)
“The way forward is no longer paved by single discipline experts. In Rethinking Expertise, Collins and Evans map out the interwoven expertises of science, technology, public policy, and decision making, illuminating the reality of modern leadership and the new expertise.”
“Rethinking Expertise is a groundbreaking contribution to the sociology of knowledge: it skillfully defends a shift in analytic focus from propositional knowledge to expertise; it meticulously classifies different forms of expertise in a ‘periodic table’; it impressively highlights the significance of the hitherto overlooked category of interactional expertise; and, perhaps most importantly, it convincingly demonstrates that sociology can make highly fruitful and surprising use of the experimental method. Rethinking Expertise will be required reading in the social sciences and philosophy.”
“This revolutionary book shows how science studies can contribute to understanding the contents of expert knowledge, not just the process by which experts are given that status by society. The authors create a novel taxonomy of types of expertise from which they derive normative recommendations concerning public debates about science. For all readers, this volume will be provocative; for some, it will also be revelatory. I highly recommend it.”
Preface and Acknowledgments
Introduction Why Expertise?
Chapter 1 The Periodic Table of Expertises: Ubiquitous and Specialist Expertises
Chapter 2 The Periodic Table of Expertises: Meta-expertises and Meta-criteria
Chapter 3 Investigating Interactional Expertise and Embodiment
Chapter 4 The Color-Blindness and Perfect Pitch Experiments
Chapter 5 New Demarcation Criteria
Conclusion Science, the Citizen, and the Role of Social Science
Appendix Waves of Science Studies