Experts and the sense of things

Arnold, Nadine (2019)

In: Land Environment 24(3), pp. 289-294.


“In a world, in which measurements, indices and agreed-upon standards are ubiquitous, Bessy and Chateauraynaud’s work on experts and counterfeiters has gained new relevance. The French social scientists provide a rich theory on the sense of things, explaining how experts evaluate the authenticity of objects. Along with the mobilisation of a shared language and stabilised criteria, the sense of things generates from everyday interactions between experts and objects. While social scientists tend to prioritise the study of the commonly-accepted aspects of evaluation, the concept of the sense of things directs attention to the subtle micro interactions and sensory experiences on the ground. This process can initiate shifts in stabilised evaluations of the true and false. This article presents the central theoretical arguments of the book “Experts et Faussaires” (Experts and Counterfeiters) and sketches their relevance for the study of environmental phenomena.”