Rethinking Expertise

Rethinking Expertise 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 TechnologyCollins 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

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[Reading] ➷ Rethinking Expertise Author Harry Collins –
  • Hardcover
  • 160 pages
  • Rethinking Expertise
  • Harry Collins
  • English
  • 04 May 2018
  • 9780226113609

10 thoughts on “Rethinking Expertise

  1. says:

    Rethinking Expertise stands as the elaboration of Collins and Evans proposed Third Wave trajectory for science studies If the Second Wave attempts to reveal the ways in which scientific knowledge is socially constructed, the Third Wave seeks to set limits on just how far that construction can reach In short, CE want to establish what they call a realist perspective on expertise, which is to say, expertise really exists and is not merely an artifact of culture, politics and power Rather, expertise arises from experience The category of experiential knowledge takes on great importance for CE, as contrasted with propositional or formal knowledge Relying on Michael Polanyi s concept of tacit knowledge, or knowledge that can be gained only through hands on experience and cannot be formally communicated outside of context, CE argue that people without hands on scientific expertise should not participate in the appraisal of that knowledge At the same time, CE argue that Polanyi s notion of a Republic of Science will not do The Republic of Science, which insists on autonomy from politics and a completely internal judgment process, excludes potential experts who have experience but no credentials.CE attempt to lay out different sorts of expertise in order to show us who does and doesn t have the right to engage in conversations about the validity of scientific knowledge For example, contributory experts actually do experiments and research in science, so they are the most qualified to understand one another and judge the others work They also introduce the category of interactional expert, which is someone or rather, it s a skill that anyone can have along with other sorts of skills as well who speaks the language of the contributory expert well enough to fluently understand the issues and concerns of their science And so on, with other types of expertise, as well as some explorations into how we might tell them apart for example, a color blind person could fluently learn to discuss colors, much like an interactional expertthey basically want to modify the notion of a Turing Test, but for telling experts apart This is especially relevant in a regime based on distinctions in tacit knowledge, since computers can t have that kind of understanding.Ultimately, CE want to re instate demarcation criteria between science and non science because without them publics far away from the sites of knowledge production could be thought to have equal purchase on the interpretation and creation of scientific knowledge This is unacceptable to them because they argue that scientific knowledge is epistemically privileged Even if this is the case, CE just don t properly consider the politics of expertise formation and validation For example, in the case that Brian Balogh considered regarding the production of nuclear science expertise that I recently wrote about, one of the salient features of this expertise was its almost exclusive presence within the military or other groups already committed to certain courses of action with respect to commercialization of nuclear power No experts even existed to challenge this powerful group, representing government, military, scientific and corporate interests This suggests that the production of expertise itself is itself a political issue, regardless of whether those experts really do have a better grasp on what they re doing or talking about Also, though CE readily admit that the pace of politics is much faster than that of science, this mismatch makes the construction of expertise even politically salient.Ultimately, it s a bit inaccurate to say that Second Wave science studies generally tried to overturn the purchase of science on truth In fact, plenty of second wavers, if you want to accept that label, just aren t interested in truth at all You don t have to take a philosophical stance on the realism of science or expertise to study the ways in which knowledge gets produced in particular ways in particular contexts of political, cultural and institutional interest Though I really agree that we need new tools to think about the problems of democracy and expertise, I m not sure that rehabilitating demarcation is the most production way forward.

  2. says:

    So much of the sociology of scientific knowledge tradition appears as a game of chicken, teetering on the edge of relativism or nihilism, if not actually plunging in The authors choice of epigraph to everything there is a season a time to break down, and a time to build up, from Ecclesiastes is an indication that this investigation of expertise represents a stepping back from the brink It is not vertiginously exciting, crackling with analytical profundity, but it is useful in its sober modesty It maps out a terrain, and offers a new vocabulary to help distinguish among the many different types of expertise.I found especially interesting and helpful the notion of interactional expertise As a policy consultant I have collaborated for years with chemists, geologists, etc., on water quality issues I wouldn t be able to run the laboratory equipment, but I can speak and write about the stuff, and sometimes can write it clearly and cogently than the specialists Until I read this book I didn t have a word to describe it, but like Harry Collins in his sociological field work, I have acquired a good deal of interactional expertise.

  3. says:

    I ve enjoyed Collins philosophy of science works e.g The Golem series This title intrigued me with answers to the knowledge management transfer challenges faced by many professional services firms mine included.Rethinking Expertise largely advocates formal recognition of a class of expertise obtained by those such as sportswriters and political journalists Expertise that is thoroughly conversant with the subject, but doesn t perform the actual deeds The argument suggests a legitimate place and use for such conversant experts This leads to a treatment of how such expertise is developed.Unfortunately for my purposes, the text offers general and not entirely unintuitive suggestions toward nurturing such expertise I don t regret the read, and am cognizant of new thoughts derived from the text that may help me define my own answers But, busy managers will look elsewhere for practical solutions.

  4. says:

    Everybody is an expert at something, and nobody can be an expert about everything A pharmacist would likely flounder hopelessly when tasked with working the line at a local McDonald s, which is why nobody expects prescriptions to come filled with a side of fries Society places a premium on some domain specific types of expertise, but even within specialized fields such as medicine and physics, stratifications exist between the people who are conversant in a topic and those who genuinely contribute to the body of knowledge The fact that a sociologist can successfully pass themselves off as fluent in highly abstract gravitational waves physics, underscores why the public needs a bulletproof method for identifying bona fide experts, especially in for high stakes technical questions While Collins and Evans delineate a novel framework for identifying who might be capable of contributing to scientific debates, their taxonomy of expertise ultimately fails to provide any useful practical guidance for resolving controversy in the public sphere When experts offer honest guidance, their recommendations can be useful Collins and Evans point out that, in spite of the fallibility of those who know what they are talking about, their advice is likely to be no worse and maybe better than those who do not know what they are talking about Collins Evans, 2007, p.2 Identifying those who do know what they are talking about, however, is no easy task Few people will actually bother to thoroughly vet any so called expert s track record, and even spot checking academic credentials becomes problematic by excluding valid viewpoints from the conversation While administering double blinded Turing tests can, in theory, establish which people ascend to the higher levels of interactional expertise necessary to speak intelligently about a topic, such trials don t offer any practical recourse for distinguishing whether what is being said matters one bit where public policy is concerned Collins and Evans do offer insight in methods for distinguishing non experts from the genuine articles, and parsing out levels of expertise among the educated But these methods aren t at all useful for unmasking corporate crimes in science and technology, which typically involve genuine experts deliberately misleading the public According to Collins Evans framework, when true experts lie, the public will necessarily be taken in because, it is impossible to make a technical assessment of the technical understanding of an expert with expertise Collins Evans, 2007, p.63 Further, the authors admit that identifying those who know what they are talking about is futile when the conversation isn t relevant to the controversy at hand, writing, none of it helps if what is being talked about is the wrong thing Collins Evans, 2007, p.114 When industry leverages highly knowledgeable individuals to talk about the wrong thing, the level of expertise doesn t play any role in determining whether the statements will mislead the public Over and over, industries issued deliberate falsehoods cloaked in a veneer of scientific expertise Technical vocabulary legitimated the claims in these accounts, even when the conclusions were completely unsubstantiated, as in the case of the plastics industry s report on vinyl chloride, which masquerading as objective science was, in fact, nothing than an obfuscation of the truth that served industry s purpose Markowitz Rosner, Deceit and Denial, 2003, p.177 Even if a few physicians, epidemiologists, or honest researchers can cut through the fog of deceit, their acuity will not matter if the message reaches policymakers and the public Important decisions for public health need to happen faster than the deliberate pace of scientific discovery, as Collins and Evans state science, if it can deliver truth, cannot deliver it at the speed of politics Collins Evans, 2007, p.2.Deception necessarily involves two parties the hoaxers and the marks Collins and Evans maintain that an audience of technical experts will be difficult to deceive in technical matters, which is why an art hoax or forgery should be easier to accomplish than a scientific hoax or forgery because its target can be a much less expert range of persons Collins Evans, 2007, p.122 However, this na ve statement ignores the fact that scientific hoaxes often don t target scientific experts, but rather the public at large Industry successfully perpetrated multiple large scale scientific frauds in the public sphere precisely because most people lacked the technical expertise to untangle epidemiological evidence or intelligently discuss the benefits and shortcomings of model animal studies.Complicating the question of who knows what they are talking about even further, charismatic figures with ulterior motives often receive disproportionately influential platforms from which to spread deception Well spoken dilettantes repeatedly gain media prominence, as in the case of climate change denial where journalists were constantly pressured to grant the professional deniers expert status Oreskes Conway, Merchants of Doubt, ch.6 Because interactional expertise is indistinguishable from contributory expertise, per Collins Evans framework, however, those deniers likely would have gained expert status even without coercion As an academic exercise, Collins and Evans exploration of expertise opens up important new avenues of inquiry for the sociology of scientific knowledge As a practical tool for preventing corporate crimes, however, their periodic table of expertise seems as useful as cigarette filters for reducing lung cancer risk The authors themselves admit that their investigations are necessarily retrospective and, certain judgements about who the experts were can only be made with hindsight Collins Evans, 2007, p.140 Unfortunately, for matters of public safety, hindsight cannot stave off harm.

  5. says:

    ILL from PSUfrom the libraryc2007 Univ of Chicago PressAuthor Harry Collins is distinguished research professor of sociology and director of the Center for the Study of Knowledge, Expertise, and Science at Cardiff University Author of several books with coauthors.Dr Golem How to Think about Medicinea fascinating view of catagories of knowledgeIntroduction why expertiseall sorts of troubles truth if it can be found about any scientific fact is always slower than the politics of meaning quantum theory shows that intention is a part of outcome therefore people are not separate from the scientific outcome but instead a part of it.Then there is the problem that while scientist are up against people politics and while science is contaminated by people, there is the problem that scientists themselves are people They make all kinds of mistakes including moral mistakes as well as technical mistakes They even fake their data and work for corporations who hide or misrepresent their data How to get out of this mess study sciencetherefore study expertise The unresolved tension between esxpertise and democracy reappears wherever experts and specialists have found themselves engaged with other groups, not least in the contemporary debate about science and the citizen.The premises of the book are laid outFolk wisdom view is that the ordinary person is said to understand things best because they see the surface of an issue without being seduced by the details.Tacit knowledge is the deep understanding one can only gain through social immersion in groups who possess it.The book is an attempt to analyse exptertise only in regard to technical subjects not at all in regards to political issues.Defines four types of scientisms.A little about the other chapters is 1 the periodic table of expertises 5 steps Ubiquitious and specialist expertises all from ubi expertise 1,2,31 enough knowledge to write it on a napkin2 public understanding source being mass media and pop books3 primary source knowledge transition specialist tacit knowledge4 interactional expertise5 contributory exp..Ubi expertise fluency in a native lang, political discrimination, skill in any cultural task..specialist expertise must involve specialist tacit knowledge ability to perform skilled practice interactional expertise deeply tacit knowledge laden expertise expertise in the language of the specialism in the absence of its practice contributory expertise 5 stage model novice,adv beginner, competence, proficiency, expertise ch2 the periodic table of expertises metaexpertises and meta criteriach3 interactional expertise and embodimantch4 walking the talk experiments on color blindness, perfect pitch and gravitational wavesch 5 new demarcation criteriaconclusion Science, the citizen and the role of social scienceappendix waves of science studies

  6. says:

    This book proposes a new framework for thinking about and evaluating expertise The authors think an important and neglected area of inquiry regarding expertise is the boundaries surrounding expertise and how we should understand them With additional nuances within each category it is proposed to understand expertise by the following Beer mat knowledge, popular understanding, primary source knowledge, interactional expertise, and contributory expertise.A considerable amount of text space is spent describing interactional expertise the ability to understand much of the nuance within a particular field, interact with the field s expert, but not being able to add to the body of knowledge or advance the field and its relationship with contributory expertise which encompasses interactional expertise while having the capacity to advance the area in question.Two important distinctions presented by the authers are accreditation is not the only way, nor necessarily always accurate, in determining expertise status certain forms of experience may over time qualify someone to have interactional and possibly contributory expertise , and that many technical questions have certain appropriate points for nontechnical insertion of people s concerns.

  7. says:

    At first the new jargon is a little difficult to get the hang of contributory vs relational expertise , but is necessary to discuss expertise its definitions and how expertise works Relational expertise is particularly intriguing For example, an art critic may not be able to paint, but he can be an expert in the different kinds of art a connoisseur There were parts where I wasn t sure how it tied in to expertise proper, but it was short enough that it didn t prevent me from finishing the book.

  8. says:

    Interesting exploration of the meaning of scientific expertise.This was one of my first forays into the world of e books I bought the Nook version and read it mostly on my Android phone I discovered that the software for the phone is really not up to what is necessary for this kind of book The images were illegible, and it is very cumbersome to the point of not being worth it to look at footnotes I m afraid that my frustrations with the medium may have affected my outlook on the book, so I m going to refrain from commenting much on it.

  9. says:

    Outstanding work on the Study of Expertise and Experience and what does it means to know what you are talking about This book concentrates on characterising expertise and classifying it into various types Focussing on tacit expertise and introducing the concept of interactional expertise, this is a must any involved in public policy and for those who seek to understand science and benefit from it.

  10. says:

    Marvelous little book I learned a lot about the problem of conceptualizing expertise, and the authors introduction of the concept of interactional expertise is a major contribution Recommended not only to sociologists of knowledge, but to anyone studying the social aspects of science and democracy.

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