, Volume 25, Issue 1, pp 119–124 | Cite as

Collins on experts: Gangnam Style STS

Harry Collins: Are we all scientific experts now? Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, 2014, 140 pp, $64.95 HB
  • Darrin DurantEmail author
Book Review

Like a rock star that released one album too many, Harry Collins’ Are We All Scientific Experts Now?has been met with a lukewarm reception by many in his established fan base in the field of Science and Technology Studies (STS). Analogous to not buying the album, many in STS are refusing to whistle to the tune that Collins sings on the final page of the book. “We should”, says Collins, “start the zeitgeist moving in the other direction and learn, once more, to elevate science to a special position in our society” (132). The zeitgeist—or spirit of the age—that is in question is the idea that because “there is nothing so special about science” (26) we should (on pain of being anti-democratic) maximize the role of ordinary citizens in deciding social issues that involve technical knowledge (43–46). Collins’ glorious attempt to turn the beat around begins by rejecting the veneration of ordinariness, which Collins treats as striking the wrong chord in response to the discovery that...


  1. Cha, F. 2012. Interview: PSY on ‘Gangnam Style’, posers and that hysterical little boy. CNN, August 17. Accessed 1 Sep 2015.
  2. Collins, H.M., and R. Evans. 2002. The Third wave of science studies: Studies of expertise and experience. Social Studies of Science 32(2): 235–296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Collins, H.M, and R. Evans. 2003. King Canute Meets the Beach Boys. Social Studies of Science 33(3): 435–452.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Collins, H.M., and R. Evans. 2007. Rethinking expertise. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Dreyfus, H.L., and S.E. Dreyfus. 2005. Expertise in real world contexts. Organization Studies 26(5): 779–792.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Jasanoff, S. 2003. Breaking the waves in science studies. Social Studies of Science 33(3): 389–400.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Shapin, S. 1994. A social history of truth. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  8. Warren, M. 1996. What should we expect from democracy? Radically democratic responses to politics. Political Theory 24(2): 241–270.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Wynne, B. 2003. Seasick on third wave: Subverting the hegemony of propositionalism. Social Studies of Science 33(3): 401–417.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Wynne, B. 2014. Further disorientation in the hall of mirrors. Public Understanding of Science 23(1): 60–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Historical and Philosophical StudiesThe University of MelbourneParkvilleAustralia

Personalised recommendations