Gil Eyal

Gil Eyal is a professor of sociology at Columbia University. He works in a broad field that encompasses sociological research on science, medicine, professions, intellectuals, and knowledge, especially as these intersect with political and legal institutions. Eyal calls it the 'sociology of expertise,' because this term does not prejudge who or what is included within the field, and because it focuses attention not only on who is considered an expert but also on what is involved in the expert performance of a task. He developed this approach to expertise in a 2013 American Journal of Sociology article titled "For a Sociology of Expertise: The Social Origins of the Autism Epidemic,” which summarized and extended the argument of an earlier book, The Autism Matrix (Polity, 2010).

Eyal is currently interested in understanding the causes and dimensions of the contemporary mistrust of experts. His forthcoming book, The Crisis of Expertise (Polity 2019), argues that what we are witnessing now are symptoms of a recursive crisis in which the increasing scientization of politics leads to the politicization of science, and vice-versa. In future years, he will be co-directing a Mellon Seminar on “Trust and Mistrust of Science and Experts” aiming to involve a broad group of scholars, scientists and members of the public to take stock of the current crisis and how it may be mitigated.

In another line of work, Gil Eyal explores the intersection of basic science and medical practice, especially as they are transformed by what is now called 'precision medicine.' Eyal co-directs Columbia’s Precision Medicine and Society Program, which fosters conversations and supports research on the social, economic, legal, and ethical dimensions of precision medicine. He is also involved in a collaborative research project that aims to map the different socio-technical strategies encompassed under the rubric of precision medicine by analyzing the various ways in which imprecision is problematized in a large dataset composed of NCI grant proposals.