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Epistemic Consultants and the Regulation of Policy Knowledge in the Obama Administration.

Authors
  • Wright, Jack1
  • Mata, Tiago2
  • 1 Centre for Research in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Cambridge, 7 West Rd, Cambridge, CB3 9DP UK.
  • 2 Science and Technology Studies, University College London, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT UK.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Minerva
Publication Date
Jun 25, 2020
Pages
1–24
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s11024-020-09411-8
PMID: 32836392
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

The agencies of the government of the United States of America, such as the Food and Drug Administration or the Environmental Protection Agency, intervene in American society through the collection, processing, and diffusion of information. The Presidency of Barack Obama was notable for updating and redesigning the US government's information infrastructure. The White House enhanced mass consultation through open government and big data initiatives to evaluate policy effectiveness, and it launched new ways of communicating with the citizenry. In this essay we argue that these programs spelled out an emergent epistemology based on two assumptions: dispersed knowledge and a critique of judgment. These programs have redefined the evidence required to justify and design regulatory policy and conferred authority to a new kind of expert, which we call epistemic consultants. © The Author(s) 2020.

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