Knowledge, Citizenship and Democracy
Ort: Groningen / online
Beginn: 14.04.2021 14:00
Ende: 16.04.2021 17:00
The ability of democratic societies to deal with knowledge responsibly seems under threat. In
recent years, the public debate has been shaped by the denial of established scientific insights,
distrust of experts, and an apparent preponderance of emotions over factual knowledge.
Often, instead of agreeing on facts, and conducting political debates about values and
interests, knowledge itself has become an area of political contestation.
But how should democratic societies deal with expert knowledge? Democracies are
built on the assumption of moral equality; social differentiation, and with it the differentiation
of knowledge, introduce an element of inequality. How can this fundamental tension be
handled? Historically, claims to expertise have often been used to justify problematic forms of
hierarchy and exclusion. But the answer can hardly be to deny all claims to differential
expertise; instead, a democratic understanding of expertise is needed.
Given today’s big challenges, such as the fight against anthropogenic climate change or
against global poverty, it is clear that different forms of knowledge need to be harnessed and
integrated into the political process.