, 25:401 | Cite as

Transmuted Expertise: How Technical Non-Experts Can Assess Experts and Expertise

  • Harry Collins
  • Martin WeinelEmail author


To become an expert in a technical domain means acquiring the tacit knowledge pertaining to the relevant domain of expertise, at least, according to the programme known as “Studies of Expertise and Experience” (SEE). We know only one way to acquire tacit knowledge and that is through some form of sustained social contact with the group that has it. Those who do not have such contact cannot acquire the expertise needed to make technical judgments. They can, however, use social expertise to judge between experts or expert claims. Where social expertise is used to make technical judgments we refer to it as “transmuted expertise”. The various kinds of transmuted expertise are described and analysed.


Tacit knowledge Periodic table of expertises Transmuted expertise Sociological discrimination 



We are grateful to Rob Evans as well as the reviewers for exceptionally useful comments on this text.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for the Study of Knowledge, Expertise and ScienceCardiff School of Social Sciences (KES)CardiffUK

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