The expert's voice: marketable discourses on choice and risk management

Alexandra Bakalaki (Aristotle University, Thessaloniki)
Venetia Kantsa (University of the Aegean)
Humanities Small Seminar Room 2
Start time:
27 August, 2010 at 11:30
Session slots:


The proliferation of marketable expert discourses aiming to empower individuals to improve their circumstances, make the right choices or cope with adversity has been the focus of considerable theorizing in social science. It has been linked to the progressive demise of the welfare state, the increasing alignment of university education and research with the demands of the market, the new kinds of insecurity brought about by the shift to flexible employment and retraining, and the growing demands of biopolitics for health risk management. It has been seen as constitutive of an emergent ontology in the context of which social practices are reduced to individual choices and individuality is defined as one's capacity to enlarge the scope of one's choices over one's actions and relations, but also one's body. This workshop aims to explore the ways in which various expert discourses are produced, solicited, interpreted and put into practice in specific contexts. We welcome contributions focusing on the perspective of both experts and clients and we are especially interested in ethnographic accounts illustrating perceptions of expert discourses as indicators or facilitators of an emergent homogeneity and /or as repositories of knowledge that may be deployed to enhance diversity.