Journal of Public Management & Social Policy

The Myth of Expertise in Academia: A Collaborative Autoethnography


Myths are powerful stories we share that shape our world and worldviews. Myths become so ingrained they often become the big-T truth. In this paper, we explore what we call the myth of expertise that usually guides how one can fit into academic spaces and places. The myth of expertise focuses on a specific, technocratic knowledge focused on certain empirical training with a goal of production. This arises especially when universities are commodified and marketized. Using our own experiences via collaborative autoethnography, we share how the myth reinforces these exclusionary practices while also offering a counternarrative – also based on our experiences – rooted in an ethic of care. The new myth ideally shows how academic places and spaces, and the people in them, can – and do – balance technocratic expertise with empathy and understanding.

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