Professionalism and Expertise Today

Fri, Dec 2, 2016, 9:00 am
Friend Center Convocation Room, Princeton University

RSVP here for lunch and a name tag by Friday, November 25, 2016. 

This conference is co-sponsored with the Program of Law and Public Affairs (LAPA).

Changes in technology and culture, politics, and the economy have drastically altered the environment of work and thrown old assumptions about professionalization into doubt. Long expected to be pillars of a “knowledge” or “information” society, the professions have run into a series of developments weakening their position: losses of autonomy, shrinking markets for their services, the substitution of algorithms for individual professional expertise, popular distrust, eroding support for exclusive professional jurisdictions. Join leading scholars from sociology, economics, and law for a discussion of these and other aspects of the new world of professionalism and expertise.


8:30 a.m. - 9 a.m. - Continental breakfast

9 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. - Panel 1:  Occupational Closure and Economic Inequality

Morris Kleiner, University of Minnesota
Kim Weeden, Cornell University 
Chair:  Paul Starr, Princeton University
This session is co-sponsored by Princeton University's Industrial Relations Section.

10:30 a.m. - 10:45 a.m. - Break

10:45 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. - Panel 2:  From Expertise to Algorithms? Professional versus algorithmic accountability

Marion Fourcade, University of California, Berkeley
Frank Pasquale, University of Maryland Law School
Chair:  Joel Reidenberg, Fordham University School of Law

12:15 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. -  Lunch and discussion

Discussion begins at 12:30 p.m. - Professional Resistance to Political Authority
Kim Lane Scheppele, Princeton University

1:30 p.m. - 2:55 p.m. - Panel 3:  Sociology of Expertise

Hila Lifshitz-Assaf, New York University
Lauren Senesac, Princeton University
Chair:  Karin Knorr Cetina, University of Chicago

3 p.m. - 3 p.m. - Break

3:15 p.m. - 4:45 p.m. - Professionalism Today

Michael Schudson, Columbia University
Katherine Kellogg, MIT
Paul Starr, Princeton University
Chair:  Paul DiMaggio, New York University


Conference Speakers Bios


Paul DiMaggio, currently a professor of sociology at New York University, was until this past February the A. Barton Hepburn Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs at Princeton University. While at Princeton, he founded the Center for the Study of Social Organization. His research interests include economic sociology, sociology of organizations, and social network analysis, and much of his work has addressed these issues in the context of nonprofit arts and cultural organizations and the informal networks that sustain them.

Marion Fourcade is a professor of sociology at UC Berkeley. She received her Ph.D. from Harvard University in 2000 and is an alumna of the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris, France. A comparative sociologist by training and taste, she has analyzed in her work national variations in neoliberal transitions, political mores, valuation cultures, and economic knowledge. An ongoing collaborative project with Kieran Healy focuses on the rise, consolidation and social consequences of new classificatory regimes powered by digital data and algorithms. Other current research interests include the microsociology of courtroom exchanges (with Roi Livne); stratification processes in the social sciences (with Etienne Ollion); and the politics of wine classification and taste in France and the United States (with Rebecca Elliott and Olivier Jacquet). Professor Fourcade’s work has appeared in American Journal of Sociology, American Sociological Review, Theory and Society, Socio-Economic Review, American Behavioral Scientist, Annual Review of Sociology, Journal of Economic Perspectives and other outlets. She is a recipient of the American Sociological Association's Distinguished Book Award and of the Ludwik Fleck prize for oustanding book in the area of science and technology studies (Society for the Social Studies of Science). Website:

Katherine C. Kellogg is a professor of Work and Organization Studies at MIT. She is the author of Challenging Operations: Medical Reform and Resistance in Surgery (University of Chicago Press, 2011, Winner of the Max Weber Award from the Organizations, Occupations, and Work section and the Sociology of Law Biannual Distinguished Book Award from the Law section of the American Sociological Association). Her papers have been published in the Administrative Science Quarterly, the American Journal of Sociology, the American Sociological Review, and Organization Science. Kellogg using comparative ethnographic methods to study social change in professions, organizations, and work in response to social movements or legal regulation.

Morris M. Kleiner is a professor at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, and he teaches at the Center for Human Resources and Labor Studies, both at the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities. He is also a research associate in labor studies with the National Bureau of Economic Research and serves as a visiting scholar in the economic research department at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. He has published extensively in the top academic journals in labor economics and industrial relations, and is the author, co-author, or coeditor of eight books, including three books on occupational regulation. Among his recent publications is "Reforming Occupational Licensing Policies," a paper from the Hamilton Project. He received a doctorate in economics from the University of Illinois. Professor Kleiner has provided advice on occupational regulation policy to the Federal Trade Commission, the Council of Economic Advisers, the Department of the Treasury, the Department of Justice, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, federal interagency statistical panels, the Census Bureau, state licensing associations. Internationally, he has provided testimony on occupational regulation to United Kingdom cabinet officers and their parliamentary committees, to cabinet officials responsible for occupational regulation in Australia and Israel, and to senior officials of the European Union.

Karin Knorr Cetina is Distinguished Service Professor and Chair of the Department of Sociology, University of Chicago. She is also principal investigator of a comparative project on scopic media at the University of Konstanz, Germany, and a member of the Institute for World Society Studies, University of Bielefeld, Germany.  Dr. Knorr Cetina has published extensively in the area of economic sociology and finance, and in the area of science and technology studies. Her writings include “Global Microstructures: The Virtual Societies of Financial Markets” (with Urs Bruegger, American Journal of Sociology, 2002) the Oxford Handbook of the Sociology of Finance (edited with A. Preda, 2012) and the book Epistemic Cultures: How the Sciences Make Knowledge (2003). She is currently finishing a book, Maverick Markets: The Social and Cultural Structures of Global Financial Markets.

Hila Lifshitz-Assaf is an assistant professor of information, operations and management sciences at the New York University Stern School of Business and a faculty associate at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. Her research focuses on the micro-foundations of scientific and technological innovation and knowledge creation processes. She explores how the ability to innovate is being transformed, as well as the challenges and opportunities the transformation means for R&D organizations, professionals and their work. Her dissertation included an in-depth longitudinal field study of NASA’s experimentation with opening knowledge boundaries through Web platforms and communities. Professor Lifshitz-Assaf previously worked as a strategy consultant for seven years, specializing in growth and innovation strategy. She held related posts at a consulting firm and at a several corporate centers of large international firms in finance and telecommunications.

Frank Pasquale researches the law of big data, predictive analytics, artificial intelligence, and algorithms. He has testified before or advised groups ranging from the Department of Health and Human Services, the House Judiciary Committee, the Federal Trade Commission, and directorates-general of the European Commission. He is the author of The Black Box Society (Harvard University Press, 2015), which has been published in Chinese, Korean, French, and other editions. He has also served on the NSF-sponsored Council on Big Data, Ethics, & Society. He has co-authored a casebook on administrative law and co-authored or authored over 50 scholarly articles, including research on the law and policy of technology use in health care ("Grand Bargains for Big Data"), finance ("Law's Acceleration of Finance"), and communications ("Beyond Innovation & Competition"). He co-convened the conference "Unlocking the Black Box: The Promise and Limits of Algorithmic Accountability in the Professions" at Yale University, and is now at work on a book tentatively titled Laws of Robotics: The Future of Professionalism in an Era of Automation (under contract to Harvard University Press).

Joel R. Reidenberg is the Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Chair in Law at Fordham University where he is the Founding Academic Director of the Center on Law and Information Policy at Fordham Law School.  He served as the inaugural Microsoft Visiting Professor of Information Technology Policy at Princeton and is currently a research affiliate of the Center for Information Technology Policy.   Reidenberg publishes on the relationship between law and technology and his current work explores the need to create new governance checks and balances that will assure public accountability for the digital age.  Reidenberg is a member of the American Law Institute and is an adviser to the ALI's Restatement (Third) of Privacy Principles.   He has testified frequently before the U.S. Congress on data privacy issues, served as a consultant to both the Federal Trade Commission and the European Commission, and served as a Special Assistant Attorney General for the State of Washington in connection with privacy litigation.   

Kim Lane Scheppele is the Laurance S. Rockefeller Professor of Sociology and International Affairs in the Woodrow Wilson School and the University Center for Human Values at Princeton. From 2005-2010, she served as director of the Program in Law and Public Affairs.  Scheppele's work focuses on the intersection of constitutional and international law, particularly in constitutional systems under stress. After 1989, Scheppele studied the emergence of constitutional law in Hungary and Russia, living in both places for extended periods. After 9/11, Scheppele researched the effects of the international "war on terror" on constitutional protections around the world. Since 2010, she has focused on the return of constitutional authoritarianism to Eastern Europe and the development of (and potential solution to) the rule of law problems in the EU. Scheppele received the Kalven Prize of the Law and Society Association in 2014 for having created body of scholarship influential in the law and society field. She joined the Princeton faculty in 2005 after nearly a decade on the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania School of Law and has taught on the law faculties at Yale, Humboldt University - Berline, Erasmus University - Rotterdam and in 2017 will teach at Harvard Law School.

Michael Schudson is a professor of journalism at Columbia University. A sociologist and historian of American journalism and American political culture, he is the author of eight books and co-editor of three others. His works include Discovering the News (1978), Watergate in American Memory (1992), The Good Citizen (1998), The Sociology of News (2003, 2011), and The Rise of the RIght to Know (2015). His Why Democracies Need an Unlovable Press (2008) includes a 2006 paper originally published in Theory and Society, "The Trouble With Experts -- and Why Democracies Need Them." He has taught at the University of Chicago (1976-80), the University of California, San Diego (1981-2009), and Columbia (since 2009).

Lauren Senesac is a lecturer in sociology at Princeton University, where she was active in the Center for the Study of Social Organization (CSSO) and the Center for Information Technology Policy (CITP) while earning her PhD. Her research focuses on the emergence of new organizational forms at the intersection of biology, education, art, and technology. In her dissertation work, she studied do-it-yourself biology labs in the United States to understand how community labs are shaped by the founders' visions, by institutional affiliations, by resource availability, and by the interaction of professional and amateur biologists.

Paul Starr (Conference Organizer) is a professor of sociology and public affairs at Princeton University and Stuart Professor of communications and public affairs at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School. He also serves as co-editor of The American Prospect, a liberal magazine that he co-founded in 1990 with Robert Kuttner and Robert Reich. His book, The Social Transformation of American Medicine, received the 1984 Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction and the Bancroft Prize in American history; a new edition with an epilogue on the development of health care to the present will appear in 2017. In addition to two other books on health policy and politics, Professor Starr is also the author of The Creation of the Media: Political Origins of Modern Communications and Freedom’s Power: The History and Promise of Liberalism, both of which include discussions of the relationship of expertise to liberal and democratic institutions.

Kim Weeden is the Jan Rock Zubrow '77 Professor of the Social Sciences, Chair of the Department of Sociology, and Director of the Center for the Study of Inequality at Cornell University. Her research investigates the institutional sources of rising income inequality, including occupational licensure and other forms of "closure" in labor markets, the environmental influences on students' occupational aspirations and educational decisions, trends in the gender gap in wages and motherhood wage penalty, gender segregation in labor markets and higher education, and changes in the class structure. She is a founding editor of Sociological Science, a peer-reviewed, non-profit, open-access journal devoted to advancing a general understanding of social processes.