MUSTS Colloquium with Stefan Böschen: Re-thinking Democratization of Expertise

Wednesday, February 27, 2019, 15:30-17:00

Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, Grote Gracht 80-82, Attic (3rd floor)


Re-thinking Democratization of Expertise:

From Co-production to Coproductivity?


         Stefan Böschen (HumTec, RWTH Aachen University)



Since the publication of the paper “The Third Wave of Science Studies: Studies of Expertise and Experience” by Collins and Evans (2002), a tremendously dynamic debate about expertise, experts, processes and their institutional framing has emerged. In the last years, this has been fuelled by a quest for participation of so called lay-people in quite different stages of knowledge production and innovation (e.g. Escobar 2014; Hyssalo et al. 2016). Moreover, scholars working on ideas of transformative science or real-world laboratories (e.g. Evans/Karvonen 2014) put forward the question of how  diverging forms of expertise can be related to each other in transdisciplinary transformation processes. Thus, the fundamental question of expertise—its quality as attribute as well as social attribution—has become highly relevant again (e.g. Lidskog/Sundqvist 2018). Against this background, I will argue for a need of meta-expertise for structuring the heterogeneity of knowledges relevant for societal problem solving. This kind of meta-expertise should allow us to distinguish between the different knowledge options offered in public-epistemic debates. This would enable a shift from co-production to co-productivity. The argument will be underpinned by insights from several  empirical projects. In these projects, forms of social interaction and knowledge production in the cooperation between scientists and civil society actors have been analysed to uncover the specific barriers to and enablers of these forms of “participatory knowledge production”.



Stefan Böschen is Professor for Technology and Society at HumTec, RWTH Aachen, Germany. He studied chemical engineering, philosophy, and sociology, and holds a diploma in chemical engineering, and a doctoral degree and habilitation in sociology. His current research focuses on the sociology of science, sociology of modernity, risk sociology, environmental research—with special emphasis on transdisciplinary and problem-oriented research—technology assessment, the analysis of risk politics, and risk communication.