Call for papers: The role of expertise in policy-making

EUREX welcomes submission of abstracts for the workshop 'The role of expertise in policy-making – empirical scholarship and normative analysis'. The workshop will be held in Oslo 22-23 May 2018. Deadline for paper proposal: by Thursday 1 February 2018.

The workshop aims to bridge empirical and normative discussions about the role of expertise in policy-making. It therefore invites papers that in different ways combine empirical investigation of the role of experts and expert knowledge in policy-making with normative discussion and analysis.

We welcome papers based on different theoretical perspectives and methodological approaches, and from different disciplines and fields, such as political science, political and democratic theory, sociology, law, public administration, and science and technology studies.

The workshop allows for papers that are primarily empirically oriented. Yet, these papers need to address normative problems and facilitate normative discussion. Papers with a primary focus on normative-theoretical, conceptual and/or methodological issues are welcome, but need to have an applied orientation and to be tailored towards empirical scholarship on the role of expertise in policy-making.

Keynote speakers

Simone Chambers, University of California, Irvine

Melissa Lane, Princeton University

Practical information

  • We invite those interested in presenting a paper to submit an abstract no longer than 300 words and a short biographical note by Thursday 1 February 2018 to
  • Participants selected will be notified by 15 February 2018.
  • Full papers must be submitted by 10 May 2018.
  • Paper presenters may also be asked to serve as discussants on other papers.
  • Where required, travel and accommodation expenses for paper presenters will be covered.

Submit your abstract

Contemporary governance relies extensively on academic expertise. Over the last decades, courts, agencies, central banks and other expert bodies inhabited by academics have been given substantive discretionary powers. Academics have also conquered high political and bureaucratic offices, such as in Latin-America during the 1990s or in Europe in the aftermath of the 2008 economic crisis. Epistemic logics seem to have a growing significance in parliamentary processes and in the public sphere: civil society organizations and political parties feel the need to support their proposals with references to research. And governments and international organizations, including the European Union (EU), increasingly seek the advice of “expert groups and “expert committees” to formulate policies. 

These developments form the backdrop for diagnoses of a rising “expertocracy” or “epistocracy of the educated”, that is, a rule of scientists and professionals. This is regarded by some as a tragedy for democracy, leaving us with a “façade democracy”, “disfigured democracy”, or “post-democracy”. Others welcome an increasing role for scientists and academics as a way of overcoming the ignorance of the citizenry and as a precondition for rational and knowledge-based policy-making.

To what extent and in what respects is policy-making characterized by expertization? To what extent does empirical scholarship confirm the grand diagnosis of a growing role of scientific knowledge in contemporary governance? How should different expressions of expertization be interpreted and assessed from a normative point of view? If experts are on the rise – is this “good” or bad”? How should expertization processes be operationalized, and on the basis of which normative parameters and indicators should we evaluate their merits and flaws?

Published Dec. 19, 2017 1:17 PM - Last modified Dec. 19, 2017 1:17 PM