"Thinking about expertise differently: GM risk assessment as an ecology of regulatory knowledge" by David Demortain

Past Event

09 June 2015, 4:00pm - 6:00pm

64 Banbury Road, Oxford

This seminar is hosted by the Institute for Science, Innovation and Society, an Oxford Martin School Institute

Speaker: David Demortain, Laboratoire Interdisciplinaire Sciences Innovations Sociétés

Abstract: The control over standards of regulatory evidence is one of the factors that determine who may be called an expert, despite the level of scrutiny and contestation that surrounds claims to expertise, specifically in public and controversial environments. The history of the regulatory testing of genetically modified organisms shows that that standards of proof are simultaneously shaped in various inter-related spaces (industrial, academic, regulatory, civic spaces among others), and are thus varied, if not multiple. Standards of proof get selected or deselected, rise or fall, depending on what happens in this complex environment, or what may be called an ecology of regulatory knowledge, that heavily determines who may prove products safe or unsafe, and thus claim to be an expert.

About the speaker

David Demortain is a sociologist and political scientist based at the research centre Laboratoire Interdisciplinaire Sciences Innovations Sociétés (LISIS), funded by the National Institute for Agronomic Research, East Paris University and CNRS. He is a research associate of the Centre for Analysis of Risk and Regulation (CARR) of the London School of Economics and Political Science. His research broadly concerns the relation between knowledge and the regulation of risk.

He has recently written about the history of risk governance models in environment and health (“The work of making risk frameworks”, in Power. M (ed). Riskwork. The Everyday Life of Risk Management, OUP, forthcoming), the negotiation and validation of standards of evidence in toxicology (“Regulatory toxicology in controversy”, Science, Technology and Human Values, 2013), and the power of experts in transnational regulatory standard-setting (Scientists and the Regulation of Risk, Edward Elgar Publishing, 2011).