Conceptualising the Role of Expertise in EU Policy-Making

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic


As the introduction to this multidisciplinary volume explains, its different chapters stand out from the existing literature by focusing on the contestation of expertise in the processes of eu decision-making, this chapter contributes to this effort by providing a sort of meta-contestation of expertise in the eu. It seeks to demonstrate that ‘expertise’ is not only contested ‘out there’ in the world of policy-making, but also at the conceptual-analytical level of scholarly research in a number of ways. Even if we limit ourselves to the behavioral sciences (understood broadly), we can identify at least four established fields of academic research beyond political science with an articulate interest in the nature of experts and expertise: first, the sociology of science and technology as it has crystallized in science and technology studies (sts); second, cognitive psychology/cognitive science; third, behavioral psychology, more specifically the field of decision-making research, and last but not least socio-psychological research on expert groups. This chapter will take the form of a diptych. It starts with identifying the different conceptual and theoretical dilemmas that give rise to divergent approaches and findings. As such it will provide an overview of their mutual incongruities. Against this background, it will then be asked how to make use of these diverging and sometimes contradictory insights in a manner that is still coherent and systematic. Attempting to answer this question, the second half of this chapter will outline the basic tenets of an information-processing approach to experts and expertise that may support a ‘controlled eclecticism’.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Contestation of Expertise in the European Union
EditorsVigjilenca Abasi, Johan Adriaensen, Thomas Christiansen
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-54367-9
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-54366-2
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Publication series

SeriesEuropean Administrative Governance

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