chapter  5
19 Pages

Experts and the production of international policy knowledge

Do epistemic communities do the job?
ByDavid Demortain

This chapter focuses on insights from the field of science and technology studies (STS) to show how the formation of policy knowledge takes place across multiple boundaries. It introduces a brief case study, and concludes that an epistemic community is less of a cohesive group with a causal role in policy change, than a label for loose sets of experts that circulate knowledge, control the circulation and claim ownership over the scientific knowledge. Knowledge in international relations, or in international policy studies, is often approached as if it was produced in one place, then transferred and finally used in another, as if knowledge was there to be carried and conveyed by experts, already black-boxed and packaged, for international bureaucracies and states to act on it. Policy knowledge is inseparably bureaucratic or political and professional. The very production of policy knowledge, including by experts, is not necessarily detached from international organizations, even though they pertain to policy, as opposed to science.