Deciphering the tension between expert and amateur power/knowledge is always a challenge. We live in an anti-intellectual culture, and our easy rejection of experts and our bootstrapping, overweening self-confidence make me enormously uncomfortable. On the flip side, the undeserved sense of superiority deeply embedded in intellectuals, particularly academic intellectuals, can be offensive. (I’m the biggest offender, too.) Plus, the long history of “expertise” that locked out the voices and experiences of non-dominant people from major cultural forms has caused centuries of erasure and lost knowledge. As I say often, there are good reasons for the slogan, “The Personal is Political.” Forgive me for rehashing the debate.

At the TEDxLSU gathering in March, Tucker Barry of Capital City Alliance, gave a TED talk about the value of amateur.

 Tucker Barry

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