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Expertise under pressure: the shock of the Old

Dates:
  • Mon 19 Oct 2020 15.00 - 16.30
  Add to Calendar 2020-10-19 15:00 2020-10-19 16:30 Europe/Paris Expertise under pressure: the shock of the Old

Seminar of the Intedisciplinary Research Cluster "Crisis of Expert Knowledge and Authority"

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.

Please register here by next Thursday 15 October.

Outside EUI premises - via Zoom DD/MM/YYYY
  Outside EUI premises - via Zoom

Seminar of the Intedisciplinary Research Cluster "Crisis of Expert Knowledge and Authority"

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.

Please register here by next Thursday 15 October.


Location:
Outside EUI premises - via Zoom

Affiliation:
Academic Service
Department of Economics
Department of History and Civilization
Department of Law
Department of Political and Social Sciences

Type:
Research seminar

Contact:
Serena Belligoli (EUI - Academic Service) - Send a mail

Organiser:
Prof. David Levine (Washington University in St. Louis & EUI)
Prof. Peter Drahos (EUI - Law Department)
Prof. Dr. Gaby Umbach

Speaker:
Stéphane Van Damme (EUI and Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris)

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