Local mass media are forums for free discussion. The role of experts in discussion is determined by journalists who are sort of “experts assessing experts”. In their opinion experts are professionals who have specific knowledge on issues under discussion. However, in provincial cities recruiting of experts and the quality of expert knowledge is something of a challenge. On the other hand, many countries have been making attempts to involve citizens into discussing specific problems and give them expert authorities, e.g. in municipal budget review, deliberations of pros and cons and voting for specific scientific researches. However, the mechanism of their involvement it is not thought through.

Discussion points:

  • How do journalist interact with experts, given that in public discussions journalists are the ones who vest authority to experts? How do journalists choose experts, what do experts have to do and say to retain their expert authority?
  • Can common people get the experts status in a public discussion if the issues under discussion affect their lives? How can common people be involved into the discussion?
  • What prevents the use of expert knowledge in management practices?

“Expertophilia [or Expertocracy] and Expertophobia”
Viktor Vakhstein, Head of Theoretical Sociology and Epistemology Department, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, Professor of Social Sciences Department, Moscow School of Social and Economic Science.

“Invisible Experts: Urbanites and Their Urban Expertise”,
Daria Dimke, Research Fellow of Res Publica Research Center, European University at St. Petersburg, Research Fellow of Independent Social Studies and Education Center, Irkutsk

“Who Are Experts and How Are They Produced in Tomsk?”
Olga Melnikova, Research Fellow of PAST Center, Tomsk State University
Maria Abramova, Senior Lecturer of Sociology Department, Tomsk State University

“Thinking Legally: Russian Officials, Law Enforcers and Lawyers as Public Experts”
Kirill Titayev, Senior Researcher of Law Enforcement Institute, European University at St. Petersburg.

“Local Mass Media Contributors: Common People, Officials and Experts”
Anastasia Kincharova, Research Associate of PAST Center, Tomsk State University.

The roundtable discussion was attended by Ivar Maksutov, Editor in Chief of PostNauka, Andrei Kuznetsov and Katerina Guba, researchers of PAST Center, Tomsk State University.