Expertise for handling environmental issues is something repeatedly asked for in today’s societies. There are hardly any claims for environmental action (or inaction) – be it from governments, environmental movements or private companies – made without reference to expert knowledge. Also, in cases where scientific advices are contested, it often leads to an increased quest for more expertise – either in terms of broader and more inclusive one or in terms of stronger and more exclusive one.
Within environmental sociology, expertise is often referred to as decisive in environmental policy and politics, which is sometimes empirically investigated but rarely explained in any depth. There is surprisingly little discussion within environmental sociology on the meaning of expertise. What does it mean to possess expertise, what role does it have for environmental regulation and why does it have this role? Thus there is a need in environmental sociology to elaborate the meaning and role of environmental expertise.
This session focuses on the meaning and role of environmental expertise. It welcomes conceptual papers, discussing how to best conceptualize and understand environmental expertise, as well as empirical paper, analyzing particular expertise and how it functions in particular contexts. The aim of the session is to improve our understanding of the meaning and function of environmental expertise