Centre for the Study of Knowledge, Expertise and Science
KES is an internationally known, university-wide, research centre specialising in the nature of expertise in science and society.
KES is an internationally known, university-wide, research centre specialising in the nature of expertise in science and society. KES draws together researchers from a range of specialisms within science and technology studies including:
- sociology of scientific and medical knowledge
- law and politics
- history and philosophy of science
- journalism, media, and cultural studies
At the heart of KES is a lively seminar series that meets every other week during term time and attracts local and international speakers. KES also has longstanding links with other Schools in the university including Law and Politics; Geography and Planning; English, Communication and Philosophy; Journalism, Media, and Cultural Studies; Physics; and Computer Science. In addition, KES maintains links with STS scholars across Europe, Latin America, and the US
The main focus of the Centre's work is developing Studies in Expertise and Experience (SEE). This involves case studies of pure and applied sciences; projects investigating public understanding of, and participation in, science; and wider concerns about the role of science in democratic societies. The last focus has been given particular urgency by the rise of populism and a current concern is how to maintain citizens’ interest in the value of science and expertise. One direction is to work out if and how science can serve as one of the checks and balances within pluralist democracies. Many of these topics are addressed at the regular SEESHOP conferences we organise to debate and develop this research agenda.
KES welcomes applications from graduate students or others who would be interested in researching in any of these areas or new or related topics. KES is recognised by the ESRC for the award of PhD studentships in Science and Technology Studies, with past graduates going on to forge successful academic careers.
The main focus of the Centre's work is developing Studies in Expertise and Experience (SEE) through case studies of pure and applied sciences as well as projects investigating public understanding of, and participation in, science.
Members of KES are engaged in a wide variety of activities. The research activities of the individual members are linked by their common focus on the sociological nature of knowledge and the contexts in which it is used, developed, and contested.
A particular interest of the group is the development of the Studies of Expertise and Experience (SEE) outlined by Collins and Evans. This approach, which includes both a detailed understanding of expertise and a systematic evaluation of the role of science in democratic societies, is summarised in the publications listed below.
- Collins, H. et al. 2022. The face-to-face principle: science, trust, democracy and the internet. Cardiff: Cardiff University Press. (10.18573/book7)
- Collins, H. et al. 2020. Experts and the will of the people: society, populism and science. Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave. (10.1007/978-3-030-26983-8)
- Collins, H. and Evans, R. 2017. Why democracies need science. Cambridge and Malden, MA: Polity Press.
- Collins, H. M. and Evans, R. 2007. Rethinking expertise. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
- Collins, H. and Evans, R. 2006. The third wave of science studies: studies of expertise and experience. In: Selinger, E. and Crease, R. eds. The Philosophy of Expertise. New York, NY: Columbia University Press. , pp.39-110.
- Collins, H. and Evans, R. 2002. The Third Wave of science studies: studies of expertise and experience. Working paper. Cardiff: Cardiff University
Current and recent research projects based in Cardiff have addressed questions about the nature, use, development, and transfer of expertise through topics including:
- role of scientific expertise in democratic societies
- experimental and theoretical physics
- automation and intelligent machines
- climate change and social movements
- citizen science and local environment
- interactional expertise and the Imitation Game
- genetics and biomedicine