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Fall 2021 Sociology UN3121 section 002
Trust and Mistrust in Science and Expert
Trust/Mistrust Sci&Exp DI

Call Number 20135
Day & Time
M 2:10pm-3:00pm
467 EXT Schermerhorn Hall [SCH]
Points 0
Grading Mode Standard
Approvals Required None
Instructor Daria Franklin
Method of Instruction In-Person
Course Description Discussion Section for SOCI 3120UN - TRUST AND MISTRUST IN SCIENCE AND EXPERTISE.  Skepticism about science and expertise is evident today in multiple arenas and clearly can no longer be considered a passing phenomenon. From climate change to vaccines; from mammograms to Coronavirus testing; from opposition to rules regulating acceptable levels of carcinogens to AI algorithms purporting to yield better decisions than human experts; the challenges to the authority of experts come from both sides of the political spectrum and take multiple forms. Most discussions of the challenges to expertise start from the question of mistrust. They ask why do people mistrust science and experts given their obvious and well-documented successes and their contribution to immense improvements in collective well-being? This way of posing the question inevitably leads to the conclusion that people mistrusting experts are irrational, uninformed or duped. This, however, may not be the most productive way to pose the question. For the social scientist, mistrust is not the puzzle, trust is. It is not surprising that people would tend to mistrust decisions taken in locales far removed from their daily lives, that are supported by forms of knowledge and technical arrangements that can be relatively opaque and difficult to grasp. It is not surprising especially since these decisions impact some individuals and groups adversely, while benefitting others. Finally, every now and then, but predictably so, it becomes obvious in hindsight that the wrong decisions were taken. Under these circumstances it is far more puzzling, counter-intuitive and difficult to understand why, how, and under what conditions people do trust science and experts  
Web Site Vergil
Department Sociology
Enrollment 37 students (38 max) as of 8:23PM Tuesday, December 7, 2021
Subject Sociology
Number UN3121
Section 002
Division Interfaculty
Campus Morningside
Section key 20213SOCI3121C002

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SIS update 12/07/21 20:23    web update 12/07/21 20:37