Routledge International Handbook of Ignorance Studies  book cover
2nd Edition

Routledge International Handbook of Ignorance Studies

ISBN 9780367608064
Published June 27, 2022 by Routledge
420 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations

FREE Standard Shipping
SAVE $49.00
was $245.00
USD $196.00

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

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 It has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution- Non Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 license.

Table of Contents


  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

View More



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).