The unknowing expert – paper on ignorance in expert interviewing
SCI Lecturer Jeremy Brice published a new paper entitled ‘The unknowing expert: talking to a man about supply chains’, which deals with methodological issues surrounding ignorance in expert and elite interviewing.
The paper is part of a forthcoming special section of Area on working with the spoken word in human geography and can be accessed online via open access.
Jeremy takes a closer look at ‘expert’ or ‘elite’ interviews, which are often taken to be occasions when an interviewee shares specialist knowledge with a researcher. Drawing on an interview with a supermarket food safety manager, he explores what geographers might make of moments when ‘expert’ interviewees turn out to know little about the matters under discussion.
Arguing that such moments unsettle depictions of interviewees as passive providers of knowledge or calculating co-constructors of interview accounts, he suggests that in challenging geographers’ assumptions about expertise they can disclose new avenues of research and yield novel insights into the geographies of knowledge and the politics of accountability.