The making of experts and expertise: A digital publication

A new digital publication, launched today, will explore how experts came to acquire power in modern times – and with what consequences. Experts: Past, Present, Future aims to provide a forum on expertise about sustainability, energy and development, and to foster exchange between historians, social scientists and policy experts.

In the past year experts have found themselves at the centre of a political storm. Brexit, the Donald Trump campaign and populist movements worldwide have lambasted the influence of non-elected experts and questioned their credibility. At the same time, our world is increasingly defined by experts, with climate change, energy futures, global development and other critical challenges all bearing the imprint of experts with their respective organizations and knowledge regimes.

The ‘Experts: Past, Present, Future’ publication is a collaboration between the International Social Science Council (ISSC), IASS Potsdam and the Material Cultures of Energy project at Birkbeck College, University of London. A series of blogs will deal with expertise and experts in a variety of political, social and economic areas and arenas from the 19th century to the present, and from multi-disciplinary perspectives. Contributors follow the experts’ work in international organizations and on the ground, and reflect on support for experts – as well as the challenges to their authority.

The publication is intended to be useful both to current experts and scholars, and to assist critical reflection, discussion and exchange. Interested readers are encouraged to join the discussion by contributing their thoughts, findings and comments. After a first series of blogs to be posted between April and June 2017, the blog will be open to new original contributions.