How Does Science Fit into Society? The Fractal Model

  • Harry CollinsEmail author
  • Robert Evans
  • Darrin Durant
  • Martin Weinel


According to Studies of Expertise and Experience (SEE), expertise is socialisation into an expert domain. Society consists of many expert domains of different extent, some small and esoteric, some, like language, large and ubiquitous. Expert domains overlap and are embedded within each other like a fractal. Citizens possess ‘ubiquitous meta-expertise’ which enables them to choose domains when seeking expert opinions—such as whether a vaccine is safe. In such cases, citizens must be ready to treat domains of scientific expertise as more valuable than power or celebrity if we are to avoid dystopia and maintain pluralistic democracy with its checks and balances. Democracies depend on their citizens—‘the law of conservation of democracy’; this means we need more civic education to safeguard the future.


Studies of Expertise and Experience (SEE) Fractal model Ubiquitous expertise Vaccination The law of conservation of democracy Civic education 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Harry Collins
    • 1
    Email author
  • Robert Evans
    • 1
  • Darrin Durant
    • 2
  • Martin Weinel
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Social SciencesCardiff UniversityCardiffUK
  2. 2.Historical & Philosophical StudiesUniversity of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia

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