Experience-based knowledge and citizen expertise in democratic governance (INFLUEX)

  • Project leader: Dr. Eva Krick (ekrick@uni-mainz.de)
  • Project period: 08/2023 – 07/2026
  • Research funding: The project is funded by the Norwegian Research Council. It is part of the cooperative research project INFLUEX, which focuses on the influence of experts on policy-making and is led by Cathrine Holst from the University of Oslo in Norway and Johan Christensen from the University of Leiden in the Netherlands.

The research project analyses the role of a certain type of knowledge in policy-making and participatory practice, i.e. knowledge that is not based on professional training but on the life experience of ‘ordinary citizens’. Examples are the knowledge that patients have about an illness and its treatments, the local knowledge that residents of a place gather by living in a certain environment or the knowledge contributed to citizen science projects.

The project explores under which conditions such experience-based knowledge claims are instructive for policy-making and what makes for their epistemic and democratic quality, building on case studies in Norway and Germany and on theory development in the fields of knowledge sociology and democratic theory.

Special attention is paid to the sources of authority and the boundaries of this kind of knowledge, especially in contrast to credentialed, academic knowledge, and the extent to which the transfer of citizen expertise to the policy realm strengthens marginalised voices, remedies epistemic injustice and essentially democratises expertise.