Authority and the Politics of Expertise

Jana Bacevic and Federico Brandmayr

There is little doubt that the pandemic has brought expertise back to the forefront of politics. Yet there are persisting disagreements about whether and how experts have influenced policymakers and the public at large. Some argue that experts have overstepped the boundaries of their proper role, and that their growing power leads to conflicts of interest and to unaccountability. Others claim that the real danger is posed by widespread anti-intellectualism and anti-science attitudes, resulting in shortsighted and ineffective decisions. Are experts in charge? And are we right to trust them? 

This conversation between two social theorists, Jana Bacevic and Federico Brandmayer, will consider the politics of knowledge, the authority of experts, and the nature of epistemic disagreement.

Jana Bacevic is Assistant Professor at the Department of Sociology at Durham University. Her work is in social theory, sociology of knowledge, and politics of knowledge production; she has published extensively on the relationship between knowledge, education and processes of social and political transformation. twitter.com/jana_bacevic 

Federico Brandmayr is a postdoctoral research associate at Cambridge University. In his current work, he studies various forms of scepticism toward social knowledge and analyses what is peculiar about how the public perceives the work of social scientists in contrast with that of natural scientists. More broadly, he is interested in the history and philosophy of the social sciences, the sociology of intellectuals and experts, the public perception of science and the political use of knowledge. twitter.com/fbrandmayr


Wednesday 12th May

7.00 p.m. (UK time)/2.00 p.m. (EST)

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Published since 1923