Routledge International Handbook of Ignorance Studies

Front Cover
Matthias Gross, Linsey McGoey
Routledge, May 15, 2015 - Social Science - 408 pages

Once treated as the absence of knowledge, ignorance today has become a highly influential topic in its own right, commanding growing attention across the natural and social sciences where a wide range of scholars have begun to explore the social life and political issues involved in the distribution and strategic use of not knowing. The field is growing fast and this handbook reflects this interdisciplinary field of study by drawing contributions from economics, sociology, history, philosophy, cultural studies, anthropology, feminist studies, and related fields in order to serve as a seminal guide to the political, legal and social uses of ignorance in social and political life.

Chapter 33 of this book is freely available as a downloadable Open Access PDF under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 license available here:


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List of illustrations
Historical treatments of ignorance in philosophy
Ignorance as methodology
Ignorance and investigation
The apophatic tradition of cultivating
Literary ignorance
Popper ignorance and the emptiness of fallibilism
Ignorance and the epistemic choreography of method
Experimental music or the ignorance
Journalists as agents in the social
Are there distinct kinds of unknowns?
Linguistics and ignorance
Valuing and managing the unknown in science
For better or worse a source of ignorance as well

The rise and decline of ignorance
The production of forbidden knowledge

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About the author (2015)

Matthias Gross is full professor in the Institute of Sociology, University of Jena and, by joint appointment, at Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ, Leipzig, Germany. His research focusses on the sociology of energy, risk and ignorance, and experimental practices in science and society. His most recent monograph is Renewable Energies (with R. Mautz, 2014, Routledge).

Linsey McGoey is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Essex. Recent articles appear in the British Journal of Sociology, History of the Human Sciences, and Economy and Society. She is editor of An Introduction to the Sociology of Ignorance: Essays on the Limits of Knowing (Routledge, 2014).

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