Is there any word to refer to the practice of experts in a given field aiming at maintaining their position as experts, rather than producing anything that could possibly challenge their position?

I would like to describe this concisely, if possible in one -ism word, rather than as "experts' self-serving practice".

Is there any existing word for this? If not, could you suggest a neologism?

  • “Group think” is closed, but does not relate to a single expert
    – Ian
    Commented Jul 15, 2011 at 16:21
  • 3
    Interesting question. I'm trying to think of a single word equivalent to the phrase 'saving face' in a more specific context--am I on the right track?
    – AM Douglas
    Commented Jul 15, 2011 at 16:25
  • 1
    I think "expertism" would be a nice neologism.
    – phenry
    Commented Jul 15, 2011 at 19:36
  • @Wanda: i do not know the phrase myself :) @phenry: perhaps yes :) Commented Jul 17, 2011 at 8:56
  • @phenry: Here's an NGram with a couple of thousand usages suggesting that expertism isn't exactly a neologism. I'll upvote your Comment, but maybe it should be an Answer. Commented Jul 23, 2011 at 15:14

6 Answers 6


The word entrenchment or its variations come to mind (from the OED):

Entrenched - adjective (of attitudes, idea, etc.,) firmly established and not easily modified.

Entrenchment - noun entrenching; being entrenched.

As in,

The group's research was intended to entrench its current position instead of offer new data to the field.

It makes me think of a person or group fortifying themselves against change, similar to when a person "digs in their heels" and won't budge on an issue.

A similar phrase that could send you down the right path might be "maintaining the status quo," which can connote a resistance to change or growth.

As for a neologism, something like anti-progressivism comes to mind, although "Progressivism" also refers to the political movement.


A great two-word phrase I have heard lately is "epistemic closure", where the people in the circle have decided that there is nothing to learn from those outside it. But I'm not sure that quite fits your need.

  • I think it rather means people would not be keen on changing their views, while what I am looking at is that people what to reinforce their position as experts by hiding data for instance. Commented Jul 17, 2011 at 8:58

Authoritism may be a suitable neologism for the perpetuation of authority.

The world could be accompanied by authoritistic, and authoritites

  • It sounds ok :) Commented Jul 24, 2011 at 12:15

Priestcraft is commonly seen for this, by analogy, particularly when done by preventing the spread of knowledge, obfuscation or the creation of mystery.

Wiktionary has this excellent example:

Horace (Horatio) Smith, Address to a Mummy:

Perhaps thou wert a priest,--if so, my struggles
Are vain, for priestcraft never owns its juggles.


According to Websters 1913 dirctionary: http://www.answers.com/topic/priestcraft-3

Priestly policy; the policy of a priesthood; esp., in an ill sense, fraud or imposition in religious concerns; management by priests to gain wealth and power by working upon the religious motives or credulity of others

Priestcraft as a generic term for expert's practice:


One of the most enduring and troublesome mysteries in economics is money: how it is created, what sorts of institutions initiate the process, what kinds of mystique and priestcraft central bankers use in managing monetary systems, and what rules, laws, or customs limit their actions.

Less generic, but showing the analogy:


Working class radicals rallied to the cause, linking “King-craft, Priest-craft, Lawyer-craft and Doctor-craft” as the four great evils of the time.

Wordnik has numerous examples, mostly referring to priests. http://www.wordnik.com/words/priestcraft

  • 1
    My dictionary has this entry for that word: "the knowledge and work of a priest." It also notes that it is "often derogatory." So... your opinion of priests notwithstanding, this probably isn't an appropriate solution.
    – MrHen
    Commented Jul 15, 2011 at 19:50
  • It is commonly used among Mormons, to refer to exactly this among any profession, from doctors, engineers, lawyers etc. Perhaps it isn't in common use otherwise, but the questioner was asking for an neologism as an alternative. This is a good one, IMO, as it is readily understood.
    – Ben
    Commented Jul 15, 2011 at 20:06
  • It's quite an intriguing answer. I'm afraid that in my context it would be a bit confusing though. Commented Jul 17, 2011 at 9:00

énarque (plural énarques): A graduate of the École nationale d'administration.

So, how about énarquism, referring to the persisting of authority by those in authority.

  • Interesting -- what is the Ecole nationale d'administration?
    – user10893
    Commented Jul 22, 2011 at 17:43
  • Selected parts from Wikipedia: ENA is seen as the method of choice to reach the great administrative corps of the State... The énarques were criticised as early as the 1960s for their technocratic and arrogant ways. See also: time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,451033,00.html Commented Jul 23, 2011 at 11:59
  • ENA is a very elitist school from which many French politicians or other people in high positions emerged. Commented Jul 24, 2011 at 12:15

Protectionism for a professional body.

Cronyism for personal relations


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.