Expertise and Regulatory Science

Beginning with The Fifth Branch, I have examined the ways in which the scientific and technical advice shore up the legitimacy of public decisions. That book introduced and developed the concept of “regulatory science” as a distinct domain of scientific production, accountable to epistemic as well as normative demands in ways that help explain why it is vulnerable to challenge from both science and politics. A key insight of the book, conveyed by the subtitle “Science Advisers as Policymakers,” was that the boundary between science and policy is not predetermined but rather is constituted through the very processes of advice-giving. More generally, my work on expertise in the public sphere displays how political institutions and cultures authorize, and thereby condition, the production, reception, and uptake of expert knowledge.

For a complete list of my publications on expertise, click here. Significant papers on this topic include:

  • “A Century of Reason: Experts and Citizens in the Administrative State,” in S. Engels and S. Skowronek, eds., The Progressives Century (New Haven: Yale University Press, forthcoming).
  • The Practices of Objectivity in Regulatory Science,” in C. Camic, N. Gross, and M. Lamont, eds., Social Knowledge in the Making (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011), pp. 307-337.
  • Quality Control and Peer Review in Advisory Science,” in J. Lentsch and P. Weingart, eds., The Politics of Scientific Advice: Institutional Design for Quality Assurance (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011), pp. 19-35; adapted and translated into Chinese in R. Frodeman, J. Britt Holbrook, C. Mitcham, Carl, and Hong Xiaonan, Peer Review, Research Integrity, and the Governance of Science—Practice, Theory, and Current Discussions (Beijing: People’s Publishing House, 2012).
  • Transparency in Public Science: Purposes, Reasons, Limits,” Law and Contemporary Problems 69(3):21-45 (2006).
  • Judgment under Siege: The Three-Body Problem of Expert Legitimacy,” in P. Weingart and S. Maasen, eds., Democratization of  Expertise? Exploring Novel Forms of Scientific Advice in Political Decision-Making, Sociology of the Sciences Yearbook (Dordrecht: Kluwer, 2005), pp. 209-224.