Collins on experts: Gangnam Style STS
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...
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