Presented by Alan Peterson. Digital media disrupt established notions of expert and expertise. This is nowhere more evident than in the sphere of internet-based health and patient activism.
Troubling Policy Seminar Series
What Counts as Expertise in an Age of Online Activism? The Health Experience
Presented by Professor Alan Peterson
Walter Boas Building, 1pm
About the Event
Digital media disrupt established notions of expert and expertise. This is nowhere more evident than in the sphere of internet-based health and patient activism. Health and patient activists use digital media to produce their own content, lobby for research, change policies, and challenge credentialed experts and scientific evidence. However, as the concept of ‘evidence-based activism’ (Rabeharisoa, et al., 2014) suggests, citizens’ engagements with experts and expertise are more complicated than may first appear. Citizens often combine ‘experiential knowledge’ and credentialed knowledge to advance their objectives. This paper will explore the changing character of ‘expert’ and ‘expertise’ in the age of the internet and social media, making reference to recent Australian and overseas’ research. It draws on the author’s recent work on patients’ use of digital media to access treatments, including stem cell treatments. The paper will consider the policy and practical implications of citizens’ growing reliance on digitally mediated information. In particular, what constitutes ‘regulation’ in this context—who or what should be regulated, by what means and to what ends?
Prof. Alan Petersen is with the Health & BioFutures Focus Program at Monash University and a Professor of Sociology at Monash. His research spans the sociology of health and medicine, science and technology studies and gender studies. He is currently leading two ARC Discovery Projects, one focusing on patients’ use of digital media to access treatments, and the sociology of testing in healthcare, focusing on national cancer screening programs. His recent books include: Hope in Health: The Socio-Politics of Optimism (Palgrave, 2015); Stem Cell Tourism and the Political Economy of Hope (Palgrave, 2017); and Digital Health and Technological Promise (Routledge, forthcoming 2018). Kasha Singh, a physician and researcher located in the Peter Doherty Institute will open the discussion on Prof. Petersen’s paper.
About the Series
The ‘Troubling Policy’ seminar series asks difficult questions about controversial or intractable policy challenges, seeks to find new ways of looking at these, and embraces insights from across disciplines. The series aims to explore the societal and political context in which policy is developed, including the knowledge/s and expertise used, the technologies deployed, how these combine to shape regulation, the relationship between controversy and the policy process, and the effectiveness (or otherwise) of policy implementation. The series is hosted by the Melbourne School of Government.