Gereon Rahnfeld

Projekttitel

The Role of Experts in Citizen Participation Processes

Projektbeschreibung

Experts have become increasingly important in today’s societies. An example for this is the Covid-19 pandemic, in which politicians repeatedly turned to experts for advice on how to combat the pandemic. However, this example has also shown that expert advice is often controversial in terms of who is considered an expert and what knowledge they provide. Thus, while politics has become scientised, science has also become politicised.
One possible reaction to this development is to make decision-making, in which experts have to be involved, more democratic by directly involving citizens. This is done, for example, through citizens’ assemblies (in the political sphere), citizens’ juries (in the judicial sphere) as well as citizen science (in the scientific sphere). However, the question remains how experts influence these processes on their part.

My PhD project takes this question as a starting point and asks how experts can be defined and what role they play in processes of citizen participation. What are the different operations performed by experts? And how can the field of interdependencies in which experts operate be conceptualised? Ultimately, my doctoral project aims to establish a relational understanding of experts that is not only interested in a substantive definition of the latter but more importantly in analysing their mode of existence within participation processes.
My research is informed by both science and technology studies and sociology. As part of my PhD project, I conduct qualitative empirical research based on the framework of the grounded theory method.

Vita

I am a research assistant and PhD candidate at the Bauhaus-University Weimar as well as part of the ‘Graduiertenkolleg Medienanthropologie’. Before I joined the post graduate program I worked as a project manager and board member at Liquid Democracy e.V. and as a programme assistant at Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW). I studied law at the University of Hamburg as well as the Charles University in Prague, cultural sciences at the Universität of Leipzig as well as European studies at the London School of Economics and Political Sciences where I received a MSc in 2014.

Publikationen

Tactics of Instability or the Instrumentalisation of Situating, in: The New Alphabet School Blog, 10.1.2020.

Vorträge

Expert*innen als Vermittlungsmedien? Eine Exploration am Beispiel des ‚Bürgerrats Deutschlands Rolle in der Welt, Jahrestagung der Gesellschaft für Medienwissenschaft zum Thema „Wissensökologien", Universität Innsbruck, 09 / 2021.

Alternativen zum Parteiensystem, Open Ohr Festival, Mainz, (panelist), 06 / 2019.

Einsatz von digitalen Beteiligungswerkzeugen an Universitäten, Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, 11 / 2018.

How can Liquid Democracy help to improve democracy?, Meeting of the ‘European Democracy Network’, Berlin, 06 / 2018.