2nd Edition

Routledge International Handbook of Ignorance Studies

Edited By Matthias Gross, Linsey McGoey Copyright 2023
    420 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    420 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Once treated as the absence of knowledge, ignorance has now become a highly influential and rapidly growing topic in its own right. This new edition of the seminal text in the field is fully revised and includes new and expanded chapters on religion; domestic law and jurisprudence; sexuality and gender studies; memory studies; international relations; psychology; decision-theory; and colonial history.

    The study of ignorance has attracted growing attention across the natural and social sciences where a wide range of scholars explore the social life and political issues involved in the distribution and strategic use of not knowing. This handbook reflects the interdisciplinary field of ignorance studies by drawing contributions from economics, sociology, history, philosophy, cultural studies, anthropology, feminist studies, and related fields to serve as a path-breaking guide to the political, legal and social uses of ignorance in social and political life.

    This book will be indispensable for anyone seeking to understand the important role played by ignorance in contemporary society, culture and politics.

    Chapter 21 of this book is available for free in PDF format as Open Access from the individual product page at www.routledge.com. It has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution- Non Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 license.


    1. Revolutionary epistemology: the promise and peril of ignorance studies
    2. Matthias Gross and Linsey McGoey


      Part I

      Remaking the philosophy of ignorance

    3. Ignorance and investigation
    4. Jens Haas and Katja Vogt

    5. Apophatic Ignorance and its Applications
    6. William Franke

    7. Global white ignorance
    8. Charles W. Mills

    9. On the relation between ignorance and epistemic injustice: an ignorance-first analysis
    10. Zara Bain

    11. The Pragmatics of Ignorance
    12. Mathias Girel

    13. Popper, ignorance, and the emptiness of fallibilism
    14. Shterna Friedman

    15. Literary ignorance
    16. Andrew Bennett


      Part II

      The Production of Ignorance as a Resource: Productively Coping with Knowledge Gaps

    17. Forbidden Knowledge in a Post-Truth Era
    18. Joanna Kempner

    19. Ignorance and the Epistemic Choreography of Social Research
    20. Mike Michael

    21. Sharing the Resources of Ignorance
    22. Stuart Firestein

    23. Ignorance of Model Uncertainty and its Effects on Ethics and Society Using the Example of Geosciences
    24. Hendrik Paasche, Alena Bleicher, Wulf Loh, Tobias Weigel

    25. Expect the Unexpected: Experimental Music, or the Ignorance of Sound Design
    26. Basile Zimmermann

    27. Ignorance and the Brain: Are There Distinct Kinds of Unknowns?
    28. Michael Smithson and Helen Pushkarskaya

    29. Linguistics and ignorance
    30. Nina Janich and Anne Simmerling


      Part III

      Valuing and Managing the Unknown in Science, Technology, and Medicine

    31. Undone science and social movements: A review and typology
    32. David J. Hess

    33. Science: For better or worse, a source of ignorance as well as knowledge

    Janet A. Kourany

    18. Lost in Space: Place, Space, and Scale in the Production of Ignorance

    Scott Frickel and Abby Kinchy

    19. Ignorance and Industry: Agrichemicals and Honey Bee Deaths

    Daniel Lee Kleinman and Sainath Suryanarayanan

    20. Tackling the Corona Pandemic: Managing Nonknowledge in Political Decision-Making

    Jaana Parviainen, Anne Koski, Paula Alanen

    21. The Pandemic as we know it: Ignorance and Non-knowledge in COVID-19 Policy

    Katharina Paul and Christian Haddad

    22. The right not to know and the dynamics of biomedical knowledge production: fighting a losing battle?

    Peter Wehling


    Part IV

    Power, oppression and hierarchies of ignorance

    23. Intersectional ignorance in women’s sport

    Madeline Pape

    24. Sexual Injustice and Willful Ignorance

    Erinn Gilson

    25. Anthropological perspectives on ritual and religious ignorance

    Liana Chua

    26. On the Burial of the Palestinian Nakba

    Rosemary Sayigh

    27. Democracy and Practices of Ignorance

    Lev Marder


    Part V

    Behavioral ignorance and political economy: towards a new dynamism

    28. Targeting Ignorance to Change Behavior

    Deborah A. Prentice

    29. Rational ignorance

    Ilya Somin

    30. Knowledge Resistance

    Mikael Klintman

    31. Criminal ignorance, environmental harms and processes of denial

    Darren Thiel and Nigel South

    32. Ignorance is strength? Intelligence, security, and national secrets

    Brian Rappert and Brian Balmer

    33. Decision-theoretic approaches to non-knowledge in economics

    Ekaterina Svetlova and Henk van Elst

    34. Organizational ignorance

    Joanne Roberts



    35. Ignorance Studies: State of the Art

    Michael Smithson


    Matthias Gross is professor at the Institute of Sociology at the University of Jena and the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, UFZ in Leipzig, Germany, where he is also head of the Department of Urban and Environmental Sociology. Among his recent books are the Oxford Handbook of Energy and Society (2018, ed. with Debra Davidson) and Green European (2017, ed. with Audrone Telesiene).

    Linsey McGoey is professor of sociology and Director of the Centre for Research in Economic Sociology and Innovation (CRESI) at the University of Essex, UK. She works on epistemology, ignorance, political economy and economic justice. Her books include No Such Thing as a Free Gift (2015) and The Unknowers: How Strategic Ignorance Rules the World (2019).