How political is science?

Public debates, expertise and knowledge in representative democracies

24AVRIL - 25AVRIL 2022, 15:30 - 17:30


Coord.: Taru HAAPALA Madrid Institute for Advanced Study / MIAS

Org.: École des hautes études hispaniques et ibériques (Casa de Velázquez, Madrid), Madrid Institute for Advanced Study / Universidad Autónoma de Madrid


  • Limited in-venue attendance (Casa de Velázquez, Sala Pierre Paris)
  • Online access through this link



The United Nations has pointed out the increasing significance of and controversies over the role of expertise and knowledge in public debates, especially in the case of the Covid-19 pandemic. Democracies in different parts of the world have responded very differently in the management of the pandemic, some relying more on scientific expertise than others.

Already, prior to the pandemic, however, many of the controversies and polarisations regarding the use of expertise and knowledge in democratic politics were observed, for example, in debates on climate change. In general, controversies over expertise can reveal opposing arguments and thus the politics related to science. In this sense, public debates on the controversies can become available not just to a wider public but also for the use of scholarly investigation on parliamentary democracies.

The workshop asks: to what extent expertise and knowledge are used in political legitimation and struggles? This interdisciplinary workshop convenes a group of scholars from fields of political theory, sociology, gender studies, EU studies and comparative politics, working broadly on topics of expertise, knowledge, political debates,parliamentary democracy, and political representation. The aim is to explore possibilities for future research collaboration in the form of joint publications or project applications on the workshop theme.