Davide Caselli

Heteronomy reloaded. Tensions and transformation in the field of welfare expertise in post-2008 crisis. The case of Milan, Italy

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Drawing on seven years of research on the role of expertise in contemporary public action, this article employs the Bourdieusian concept of field in order to analyze the tensions and conflicts among welfare experts and researchers around different visions of the future of social policies and definitions of their own identities and roles. In doing so, it highlights the stakes and strategies that govern «the field of welfare expertise», i.e. the social space in which such tensions and conflicts unfold. On the theoretical level, the article offers an original contribution to the elaboration of Bourdieu’s work by combining its insights into the study of the rules governing the production of knowledge in the social science with those analyzing welfare transformation.


  • experts
  • field of expertise
  • Italian welfare state
  • crisis
  • autonomy/ heteronomy


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