Society

, Volume 47, Issue 3, pp 220–226 | Cite as

The Social Construction of Expertise

Symposium: Peter Berger’s Achievement in Social Science

Abstract

In The Social Construction of Reality, Berger and Luckmann discuss experts. They contrast the stabilizing monopoly traditionally enjoyed by “universal experts” with the destabilizing competition of a modern pluralistic society. “When a particular definition of reality comes to be attached to a concrete power interest, it may be called an ideology.” The current institutions of forensic science illustrate the claim that monopoly in expertise is associated with political power. Applying the analysis of universal experts in The Social Construction of Reality to forensic science provides useful insights into forensic science as a social phenomenon.

Keywords

Experts Expertise Social construction of reality Science Forensic science 

Further Reading

  1. Akerlof, G. A. 1970. The market for ‘lemons’: Quality uncertainty and the market mechanism. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 84(3), 488–500.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Berger, P., & Luckmann, T. 1966. The social construction of reality. New York: Anchor Books.Google Scholar
  3. Berger, V., Matthews, J. R., & Grosch, E. N. 2007. On improving research methodology in clinical trials. Statistical Methods in Medical Research, 1–12.Google Scholar
  4. Cole, S. 2007. Where the rubber meets the road: Thinking about expert evidence as expert testimony. Villanova Law Review, 803, 819–824.Google Scholar
  5. Friedman, R. 2003. Squeezing Daubert out of the picture. Seton Hall Law Review, 33, 1047–1070.Google Scholar
  6. Gestring, Brian. 2009. The Dawn of the ‘Forensic Science Provocateur.’ CAC News, 1st quarter 2009: 25–28.Google Scholar
  7. Grann, D. 2009. Trial by fire. The New Yorker, 7 September 2009. Downloaded 7 September 2009 from http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/09/07/090907fa_fact_grann?currentPage=all.
  8. Greene, S., & Moffiet, M. 2007. Bad faith difficult to prove. The Denver Post, 22 July 2007. Downloaded 28 January 2009 from http://www.denverpost.com/evidence/ci_6429277.
  9. Kennedy, D. 2003. Forensic science: Oxymoron? Science, 302(5651), 1625.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Koppl, R. 2010. Organization economics explains many forensic science errors. Journal of Institutional Economics, 6(1), 71–81.Google Scholar
  11. Koppl, R. 2005. How to improve forensic science. European Journal of Law and Economics, 20(3), 255–286.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Koppl, R., & Cowan, E. J. 2010. “A battle of forensic experts is not a race to the bottom,” with E. J. Cowan Review of Political Economy, forthcoming.Google Scholar
  13. Koppl, R., Kurzban, R., & Kobilinsky, L. 2008. Epistemics for forensics. Epistmeme: Journal of Social Epistemology, 5(2), 141–159.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Mills, S., & Possley, M. 2004. Texas man executed on disproved forensics: Fire that killed his 3 children could have been accidental. Chicago Tribune, 9 December 2004. Downloaded 27 January 2005 from http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-0412090169dec09,0,1173806.story.
  15. NAS Committee on Identifying the Needs of the Forensic Sciences Community. 2009. Strengthening forensic science in the United States: A path forward, National Academies Press, http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=12589.
  16. Nichols, R. G. 2007. Defending the scientific foundations of the firearms and toolmark identification discipline: Responding to recent challenges. Journal of Forensic Science, 52(3), 586–594.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Office of the Inspector General. 2008. Review of the Office of Justice Programs’ Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grants Program. U.S. Department of Justice.Google Scholar
  18. Pyrek, K. M. 2007. Forensic science under siege: The challenges of forensic laboratories and the medico-legal death investigation system. Amsterdam: Academic.Google Scholar
  19. Risinger, M. 2007. Innocents convicted: An empirically justified factual wrongful conviction rate. Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, 97(3), 761–806.Google Scholar
  20. Saks, M., & Koehler, J. J. 2005. The coming paradigm shift in forensic identification science. Science, 309, 892–895.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. State of Maryland v. Bryan Rose, Memorandum Decision, 19 October 2007, Circuit Court for Baltimore County, K06–545.Google Scholar
  22. Thompson, W. C. 1995. Subjective interpretation, laboratory error and the value of forensic DNA evidence: Three case studies. Genetica, 96, 153–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Thompson, W. C. 2009. Painting the target around the matching profile: The Texas sharpshooter fallacy in forensic DNA interpretation. Law, Probability and Risk, 8(3), 257–276.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Thompson, W. C., & Cole, S. A. 2007. Psychological aspects of forensic identification evidence. In M. Costanzo, D. Krauss, & K. Pezdek (Eds.), Expert psychological testimony for the courts (pp. 31–68). Mahwah: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  25. Thompson, W. C., & Dioso-Villa, R. 2008. Turning a blind eye to misleading scientific testimony: Failure of procedural safeguards in a capital case. Albany Journal of Science and Technology, 18, 151–304.Google Scholar
  26. Turner, S. 2001. What is the problem with experts? Social Studies of Science, 31(1), 123–149.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Willingham v. State, 897 S.W.2d. 351, 357, Tex.Crim.App. 1995.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Forensic Science AdministrationFairleigh Dickinson UniversityMadisonUSA

Personalised recommendations