210219 - Translating Expertise across Work Contexts: U.S. Puppeteers Move from Stage to Screen with Michel Anteby, Boston University
MaxPo seminar co-organized with the CSO and the CEE of Sciences Po
Sciences Po via Zoom, compulsory registration
Expertise is a key currency in today’s knowledge economy. Yet as experts increasingly move across work contexts, how expertise translates across contexts remains less understood. Here, we examine how a shift in work context—which reorders the relative attention experts pay to distinct types of audiences—redefines what it means to be an expert. Our study’s setting is an established expertise in the creative industry: puppet manipulation. Through an examination of U.S. puppeteers’ move from stage to screen (that is, film and television), we show that, while the two settings call on mostly similar repertoires of skills, puppeteers in stage ground their claims to expertise in a dialogue with spectators and consequently view expertise as achieving believability; by contrast, puppeteers in screen invoke the need to deliver on cue when dealing with producers, directors, and coworkers and view expertise as achieving task mastery. When moving between stage and screen, puppeteers therefore prioritize the needs of certain types of audiences over others’ and gradually reshape their own views of expertise. Our findings embed the nature of expertise in experts’ ordering of types of audience to attend to and provide insights for explaining how expertise can shift and become co-opted by workplaces.
Michel Anteby, Boston University
Léonie Hénaut, Sciences Po, CSO