Compare imagined community; interpretive community; virtual community.
1. A group of people with shared knowledge, expertise, beliefs, or ways of looking at the world: for example, ‘the scientific community’, a group of professional specialists, or a school of thought. Those who share a disciplinary paradigm in the Kuhnian sense or are subject to the same Foucauldian *épistème, though note that neither Kuhn nor Foucault use the term epistemic community. Compare interpretive community.
2. In political contexts, technical specialists who influence policy-making by decision-makers; here, epistemic communities are sometimes distinguished from interest groups (in the sense of issue-oriented groups with an agenda, such as environmentalists).
3. Communities of interest: loosely, any group with shared interests or identities. The internet has created a global infrastructure particularly well suited to the development and maintenance of specialized communities of interest, including stigmatized groups constituted by difference: see demarginalization.