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Events Archive - Crisis of Expert Knowledge and Authority Interdisciplinary Research Cluster

January - December 2021


21 June 2021, 3 pm

COVID-19 and the paradox of scientific advice
Speaker: Zeynep Pamuk (University of California)

31 May 2021

Technocracy in Time and Space: Multidisciplinary Perspectives
Max Weber Programme Multidisciplinary Research Workshop

17 May 2021, 3 pm

Experts cluster organisational meeting

19 April 2021, 3 pm

Promoting use of evidence to strengthen trust?
Speaker: Stéphane Jacobzone (OECD Public Governance)

22 March 2021
3 - 4:30 pm - Zoom

Think Tanks, Expertise and Policy Making
Speaker: Diane Stone (EUI - School of Transnational Governance)
Think tanks have proliferated within many countries over the past 50 years. Today, these organisations are thought to number around 7,500 world-wide. This seminar will focus first on the evolution of the think tank organisational form over time and across different countries. Different styles and strategies have been adopted to inform the decision-making processes of national (or sub-national) governments. The second topic I will address is how think tank networking has become extensive and intensive as many of these organisations have transnationalised their activities. Some think tanks have become prominent players in global and regional governance or have forged partnerships with international organisations. The third topic is think tanks’ (lack of) influence, the types of their impact (and with whom or what), as well as some concerns regarding their legitimacy. 

15 February 2021
3 - 4:30 pm - Zoom

Who is an expert?
Speaker: David Levine (Department of Economics, EUI)
One of the most difficult problems in communication between experts and policy makers and the public is in establishing who is an expert. Experts by the nature are quite narrow. Those who are most vocal often speak beyond the range of their expertise, and in some cases act as out and out charlatans. This discredits experts in general. Applying some straightforward principles can help determine whether advice is truly expert. I consider examples including the role of expertise in the climate change debate.

18 January 2021
3 - 4:30 pm - Zoom

The role of economists in the climate change debate: the good, the bad, and the ugly
Speakers: John Hassler (IIES, Stockholm University) and Per Krussel (IIES, Stockholm University) - PPT presentation
Climate change is one of the key challenges that faces us. It is also highly politically charged. This panel features two prominent economists, John Hassler and Per Krussel, both from Stockholm University and both of whom are experts in the economics of climate change. They will discuss their experience, including successes and failures, in advising policy makers and communicating with the public in this highly charged atmosphere. David Levine will moderate.



February - December 2020


16 November 2020
2:30-4 pm - Zoom

Covid-19: The Science-Politics-Interface in Times of Crisis
Speakers: Andrea Ichino (Department of Economics, EUI) and Jakub Steiner (Associated Professor with Tenure, CERGE-EI and Associate Professor, University of Zurich)
Jakub Steiner, together with a group at CERGE-EI, advised the Czech government during the COVID-19 crisis. Prof Steiner and Prof Andrea Ichino (Department of Economics, EUI) will talk about their experience at the intersection of science and politics. An round of initial intervention by the speakers (20 min.) will be followed by an open Q&A session. The discussion with will be moderated by Gaby Umbach. 

19 October 2020
3-4:30 pm - Zoom

Expertise under Pressure: The Shock of the Old
Speaker: Stéphane Van Damme (EUI and Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris) - PPT presentation
The Covid-19 pandemic represents a new opportunity for historians of science. In a very short time, we have witnessed both a re-sacralization of science and scientists and a renewal of public denunciation of experts, driven by a ‘scientific populism’ well analyzed in the Italian context. Stimulated by this paradoxical situation, the mobilization of science historians has been unprecedented: in Stockholm, Berlin, Florence and Cambridge, research networks and groups have formed observatories of this ‘Expertise under pressure’, to use the project title at the University of Cambridge’s Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH). The denunciation of public health policies and experts has been based on a triple criticism: that sciences are neo-liberal, that sciences are a tool of economic globalization and that the generation of scientific claims is too vertical and insufficiently participative and inclusive. Far from being new, these discourses are part of a well-known repertoire and have been used against science for the past thirty years. The history of forms of expertise invites us to place the current crisis in a longer context. It also invites us to describe a plurality of cultures of expertise. Beyond the tensions between international expertise and national expertise, the Covid lockdown and subsequent events have seen a change in the posture of experts and governments. The moral economy of expertise has reminded some mediatic scientists of the importance of collegiality, modesty and patience. The peremptory and assertive tone of the health authorities at the beginning of the crisis gradually gave way to a form of manifest uncertainty. These differences show a tension between a fundamentally empirical and tentative science and the common representation of a sovereign and predictive science. Our discussion of these recent transformations will try to place them in the context of a deeper questioning of scientific authority.

15 October 2020
1:30 pm - Zoom

Organisational meeting for members of the Crisis of Expert Knowledge and Authority cluster

11 June 2020
3:30 pm - Zoom

Book presentation: Expert Failure by Roger Koppl
Speaker: Junze Sun (Max Weber Fellow)

2 April 2020
12:30 pm - Zoom

Discussion of the role of experts in the Covid-19 crisis

20 February 2020
12:30 pm

Preliminary meeting

Page last updated on 22 October 2021

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