Eva Krick - Epistemic quality criteria for non-scientific policy expertise

 Eva Krick is visiting the Science Studies Colloquium Series. The seminar is open for everyone. 

Krick is guest researcher at ARENA from April 2015 to March 2017. She is Assistant Professor at the Department of Social Sciences at Humboldt University in Berlin.


Foto: Universitetet i Oslo

Policy advice or expertise is an important force in the policy process that comes from all kinds of sources, not just academics, but also stakeholders and practitioners. It is often generated in groups that consensually decide on joint policy recommendations.

A prominent site for the development of such multi-source and negotiated expertise are ‘hybrid’ or ‘mixed’ advisory  committees, which are a common feature of the Nordic model of policy-making and of the European consensus democracy in general. They potentially radiate the double authority of political legitimacy that builds on participation and the coordination of affected interests, and technical rationality that builds on specialised knowledge.  

While hybrid advisory institutions and the particular advice they produce have been scrutinised from a democratic theory perspective intensively, they have not received much attention from an epistemic perspective. We lack debate on the standards that would fit this kind of non-scientific expertise and that enable us to scrutinise its epistemic quality.

This talk focuses on the epistemic quality of such non-scientific, multi-source, negotiated expertise and asks in what way we need to adjust our normative criteria when assessing its validity. Can we apply science-based quality indicators such as institutional affiliation or publication record? How do we account for the epistemic quality of the collective, communicative action that characterises the production of this knowledge? Under which conditions do stakeholders such as NGOs or interest groups qualify as trustworthy experts?

I will address these questions by presenting a conceptual framework for analysing the epistemic qualities of non-scientific, multi-source and negotiated expertise. Empirical examples of mixed advisory bodies active in the field of environmental and energy policy will be used for illustration of these criteria. The framework considers the reliability of individual advisors, the deliberative quality of the advisory procedure and the problem-solving capacity of the policy advice itself. It builds on knowledge-related considerations in the fields of deliberative democracy, social epistemology and science and technology studies.




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Published Oct. 18, 2016 11:19 AM - Last modified Feb. 13, 2017 9:51 AM