Mental health has firmly secured itself as a matter of concern and domain of global governance. The production of expertise has been integral to this process of issue emergence, as evidenced in the knowledge-producing and agenda-setting activities of expert actors operating at the interface between science and policy, such as the World Health Organization (WHO), the medical journal The Lancet, and the Centre for Global Mental Health. But how exactly is expertise produced? What are the mechanisms through which certain documents, reports, publications, studies, or numbers recognized as expert knowledge are “made and replicated”? Relatedly, how have once contested forms of knowledge come to be dominant in policy debates?
Recognizing the ubiquity of expertise in global governance as part of the turn towards “evidence-based” policymaking, Professor Annabelle Littoz-Monnet’s latest publication provides a novel theory for understanding processes of knowledge production. Breaking with the vision of policymakers, scientists, experts, and activists each fulfilling distinct roles in world politics, this article instead highlights forms of enmeshment across spheres. Relatedly, Professor Littoz-Monnet sheds light on dynamics of circularity and exclusivity at the heart of global knowledge-making. Empirically rich, the article provides a fruitful methodological blueprint for opening “up the ‘black-box’ of expertise” by giving analytical significance to expert career trajectories, journal publishing, citation practices, research collaborations, and crossing points.
This piece is necessary read for anyone interested in global governance, expertise, international organizations, and global health data.
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