Volume 57, Issue 2, 2020
Asya A. Filatova
Opening and Closing the Black Boxes
The term “counter-expertise” has recently become a part of the STS theoretical tools, although main topics covered by this term have been the STS subjects for several decades. These themes concern the norms and practices of laypeople participation in assessing the quality of their living conditions. This assessing often clashes with official expertise. First of all, the problem of counterexpertise is considered in the context of the democratization of science, a participatory turn and activism. In this article, using the vocabulary of B. Latour's actor-network theory, I try to demonstrate the way counter-experts use, open and close the so-called “black boxes” of science. The counter-experts’ attitude about scientific facts is a matter of principle, for it actualizes the problem of demarcation of counter-expertise from various kinds of grassroots initiatives, which are usually interpreted as unscientific and socially destructive.