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Books, Book Sections, Special Journal Editions, Journal Articles - Includes contributions from Sociology, Anthropology, Philosophy, Natural Sciences, Medicine, Economics, Organizational Studies, Education, and Literature. Do you wish to suggest a resource relevant for the sociology of ignorance? Please contact us.

Print (and sometimes also on-line) Resources*

Brian Balmer's Secrecy and ScienceBalmer, Brian. 2012. Secrecy and Science: A Historical Sociology of Biological and Chemical Warfare. Burlington VT: Ashgate.

Beck, Ulrich and Peter Wehling. 2012. "The politics of non-knowing: An emerging area of social and political conflict in reflexive modernity." Pp. 33-57 in The Politics of Knowledge, edited by F. D. Rubio and P. Baert. New York: Routledge.

Bennett, A. 2009. Ignorance: Literature and Agnoiology. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Boeschen, Stefan, Karen Kastenhofer, L. Marschall, Ina Rust, J. Söntgen, and Peter Wehling. 2006. "Scientific Cultures of Non-Knowledge in the Controversy over Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO). The Cases of Molecular Biology and Ecology." GAIA 15:294-301.

Boeschen, Stefan , Karen Kastenhofer, Ina Rust, Jens Soentgen, and Peter Wehling. 2010. "Scientific Nonknowledge and Its Political Dynamics: The Cases of Agri-Biotechnology and Mobile Phoning." Science, Technology, & Human Values 35:783-811. DOI: 10.1177/0162243909357911.

Carrillo, Juan D. and Thomas Mariotti. 2000. "Strategic Ignorance as a Self-Disciplining Device." Review of Economic Studies 67:529-544.

Aux frontières de la science: Dictionnaire de l'ignorance de Michel Cazenave (Ed.)Cazenave, Michel (Ed.). 1998. Aux frontières de la science: Dictionnaire de l'ignorance. Paris: Hachette Littératures.

Chua, Liana. 2009. "To know or not to know? Practices of knowledge and ignorance among Bidayuhs in an ‘impurely’ Christian world." Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 15:332-348.

Davies, William. 2011. "Knowing the Unknowable: The Epistemological Authority of Innovation Policy Experts." Social Epistemology 25:401-421. DOI: 10.1080/02691728.2011.605479.

Davis, Mark, Paul Flowers, and Niamh Stephenson. 2014. ‘We had to do what we thought was right at the time’: retrospective discourse on the 2009 H1N1 pandemic in the UK. Sociology of Health & Illness. 36:369-382.

De Diéguez, Manuel. 1970. Science et nescience. Paris: Gallimard.

Dilley, Roy. 2010. "Reflections on knowledge practices and the problem of ignorance." in Making Knowledge: Explorations of the Indissoluble Relation Between Mind, Body and Environment, edited by T. H. J. Marchand. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell and the Royal Anthropological Institute.

Einwohner, Rachel L. 2009. "THE NEED TO KNOW: Cultured Ignorance and Jewish Resistance in the Ghettos of Warsaw, Vilna, and Łódź." Sociological Quarterly 50:407-430. DOI: 10.1111/j.1533-8525.2009.01146.x.

Ignorance: How it Drives Science by Stuart FiresteinFerrier, J.F. 1854. Institutes of Metaphysics: the theory of knowing and being. Edinburgh: Blackwell.

Firestein, Stuart. 2012. Ignorance: How it Drives Science. New York: Oxford University Press.

Frickel, Scott and M. Bess Vincent. 2007. "Hurricane Katrina, contamination, and the unintended organization of ignorance." Technology in Society 29:181-188. DOI: 10.1016/j.techsoc.2007.01.007.

Frickel, Scott, Sahra Gibbon, Jeff Howard, Joanna Kempner, Gwen Ottinger, and David J. Hess. 2010. "Undone Science: Charting Social Movement and Civil Society Challenges to Research Agenda Setting." Science, Technology, & Human Values 35:444-473. DOI: 10.1177/0162243909345836.

Gaudet, Joanne. 2013. "It takes two to tango: knowledge mobilization and ignorance mobilization in science research and innovation", Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation.31:3. 169-187. DOI: 10.1080/08109028.2013.847604.

Gaudet, Joanne and Stefanie Czub. 2012. "Short Communication: Knowledge mobilization and ignorance mobilization dynamics in veterinary research." Pp. 1-7. Sociology Working Paper.

Special Issue on the Symbolic Capital of IgnoranceGershon, llana (ed.) for the Special Issue on the Symbolic Capital of Ignorance in the Social Analysis Journal. 2000. Includes contributions from Gershon, llana and Dhooleka Sarhadi Raj, Ilana Gershon, Dhooleka Sarhadi Raj, Philip C. Parnell, Michael W. Scott, Kalman Applbaum, Ken Lee, and Gillian Cowilshaw. 44.

Gross, Matthias. 2003. "Sociologists of the Unexpected: Edward A. Ross and Georg Simmel on the Unintended Consequences of Modernity." The American Sociologist 34:40-58. DOI: 10.1007/s12108-003-1015-9.

Gross, Matthias. 2007. "The Unknown in Process: Dynamic Connections of Ignorance, Non-Knowledge and Related Concepts." Ignorance and Surprise by Matthias GrossCurrent Sociology 55:742-759. DOI: 10.1177/0011392107079928.

Gross, Matthias. 2007. "Communicating ignorance and the development of post-mining landscapes." Science Communication 29:264-270. DOI: 10.1177/1075547007309103.

Gross, Matthias. 2010. Ignorance and Surprise: Science, Society and Ecological Design. Cambridge: The MIT Press.

Gross, Matthias. 2012. "‘Objective Culture’ and the Development of Nonknowledge: Georg Simmel and the Reverse Side of Knowing." Cultural Sociology 6:422-437. DOI: 10.1177/1749975512445431.

Gross, Matthias. 2014. Self-Knowledge, Gender Roles, and the Making of the Secret Gospels: A Chapter in the Sociology of Nonknowledge. Journal of Historical Sociology. DOI: 10.1111/johs.12047.

Sociologie de l'impévisible : Dynamiques de l'activité et des formes socialesGrossetti, Michel. 2004. Sociologie de l'imprévisible: Dynamique de l'activité et des formes sociales. Paris: PUF.

Hess, David. 2009. "The Potentials and Limitations of Civil Society Research: Getting Undone Science Done." Sociological Inquiry 79:306-327.

Hess, David. 2010. "Social Movements, Publics, and Scientists." Invited Plenary Lecture, Japanese Society for Science and Technology Studies.

Hess, David. 2011. "To Tell the Truth: On Scientific Counterpublics." Public Understanding of Science 20:627-641.

Anthropology of Ignorance by High, Kelly and MairHigh, C. , A. H. Kelly, and J. Mair (Ed.). 2012. The Anthropology of Ignorance: An Ethnographic Approach. New York: Palgrave MacMilan.

Hobart, Mark (Ed.). 1993. An Anthropological Critique of Development: The Growth of Ignorance. New York: Routledge.

Ivainer, T. and R. Lenglet. 1996. Les ignorances des savants. Paris: Maisonneuve & Larose.

Janich, Nina, Alfred Nordmann, and Liselotte Schebek (Eds.). 2012. Nichtwissenskommunikation in den Wissenschaften: Interdisziplinäre Zugänge. Frankfurt am Main: Graf.

Japp, Klaus P. 2000. "Distinguishing Non-Knowledge." The Canadian Journal of Sociology 25:225-238.

Jensen, Karen and Bjorg Christiansen. 2012. "New Patterns for Epistemic Engagement in Nursing: An Exploratory Study into the Policy and Practices of Non-Knowledge." Pp. 211-228 in Professional Learning in the Knowledge Society: The Knowledge Economy and Education, edited by K. Jensen, L. Lahn, and M. Nerland: SensePublishers.

Jouzel, J.-N. 2012. Des toxiques invisibles: Sociologie d'une affaire sanitaire oubliée. Lassay-les-Châteaux: Éditions de l'École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales.

Kaptchuk, Ted J. 1998. "Intentional Ignorance: A History of Blind Assessment and Placebo Controls in Medicine." Bulletin of the History of Medicine 72:389-433.

Kastenhofer, Karen. 2009. "Debating the risks and ethics of emerging technosciences." Innovation: The European Journal of Social Science Research Evaluation 22:77-103. DOI: 10.1080/13511610902770594.

Kastenhofer, Karen. 2011. "Risk assessment of emerging technologies and post-normal science." Science, Technology, and Human Values 36:287-306. DOI: 10.1177/0162243910385787.

Katz, Jack. 1977. "Cover-Up and Collective Integrity: On the Natural Antagonisms of Authority Internal and External to Organizations." Social Problems 25:3-17.

Katz, Jack. 1979. "Concerted Ignorance: The Social Construction of Cover-Up." Urban Life 8:295-316.

Katz, Jack. 1979. "Legality and Equality: Plea Bargaining in the Prosecution of White-Collar and Common Crimes." Law & Society Review 13:431-459.

Katz, Jack. 2007. "Toward a Natural History of Ethical Censorship." Law & Society Review 41:797-810.

Katz, Jack. 2012. "Ethnography’s Expanding Warrants." The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 642:258-275. DOI: 10.1177/0002716212437342.

Kempner, Joanna, Clifford S. Perlis, and Jon F. Merz. 2005. "Forbidden knowledge." Science 307. 10.1126/science.1107576.

Kempner, Joanna. 2008. "The chilling effect: How do researchers react to controversy?" Public Library of Science Medicine 5:e222. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0050222.

Kempner, Joanna, Jon F. Merz, and Charles L. Bosk. 2011. "Forbidden Knowledge: Public Controversy and the Production of Nonknowledge." Sociological Forum 26:475-500. DOI: 10.1111/j.1573-7861.2011.01259.x.

Kerwin, Ann. 1993. "None too Solid: Medical Ignorance." Knowledge: Creation, Diffusion, Utilization 15:166-185. 10.1177/107554709301500204.

Kessler, Anke S. 1998. "The Value of Ignorance." The RAND Journal of Economics 29:339-354.

Kinchy, Abby J. and Simona L. Perry. 2012. "Can Volunteers Pick Up the Slack? Efforts to Remedy Knowledge Gaps about the Watershed Impacts of Marcellus Shale Gas Development." Duke Environmental Law & Policy Forum 22:303-339.

Kleinman, D. and S. Suryanarayanan. 2012. "Dying Bees and the Social Production of Ignorance." Science, Technology, & Human Values 1:1-26. 10.1177/0162243912442575.

On Knowing and Not Knowing in the Anthropology of Medicine by Littlewood (Ed)Last, Murray. 1981. "The Importance of Knowing about Not Knowning." Social Science & Medicine. Part B: Medical Anthropology 15B:387-392. DOI: 10.1016/0160-7987(81)90064-8.

Littlewood, Roland (Ed.). 2007. On Knowing and Not Knowing in the Anthropology of Medicine. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press.

Malewski, Erik and Nathalia Jaramillo (Ed.). 2011. Epistemologies of Ignorance in Education. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

Martin, Andrew. 1985. The Knowledge of Ignorance: From Genesis to Jules Verne. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Economy and Society Special Issue on Strategic IgnoranceMcGoey, Linsey (ed.). 2012. Special Issue: Strategic unknowns: towards a sociology of ignorance in the Journal Economy and Society. Includes contributions from Linsey McGoey, Carol A. Heimer, Brian Rappert, William Davies, Jacqueline Best, and Steve Rayner. Economy and Society 41.

McGoey, Linsey. 2012. "The logic of strategic ignorance." British Journal of Sociology 63:533-576. DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-4446.2012.01424.x.

Merton, Robert K. 1936. "The Unanticipated Consequences of Purposive Social Action." American Sociological Review 1:894-904.

Merton, Robert K. 1987. "Three fragments from a sociologist’s notebooks: Establishing the phenomenon, specified ignorance, and strategic research materials." Annual Review of Sociology 13:1-28.

Messick, David M. 1999. "Dirty Secrets: Strategic Uses of Ignorance and Uncertainty." Pp. 71-88 in Shared Cognition In-Organizations: The Management of Knowledge, edited by L. L. Thompson, J. M. Levine, and D. M. Messick. Mahwah, N.J.: L. Erlbaum.

Moore, Wilbert and Melvin Tumin. 1949. "Some social functions of ignorance." American Sociological Review 14:787-796.

Noorgard, KM. 2006. "People Want to Protect Themselves a Little Bit: Emotions, Denial and Social Movement Nonparticipation." Sociological Inquiry 76:372-396.

Norgaard, KM. 2011. Living in Denial: Climate Change, Emotions, and Everyday Life. Cambridge: MIT Press.

Parush, Iris and Saadya Sternberg. 2004. "Another Look at "The Life of 'Dead' Hebrew": Intentional Ignorance of Hebrew in Nineteenth-Century Eastern European Jewish Society". Book History. 7:171-214.

Petitat, André. 1998. Secret et formes sociales. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.

Pielke, Roger A. Jr. 2012. "Post-Normal Science in a German Landscape." Nature and Culture 7:196-212. DOI: 10.3167/nc.2012.070205.

Agnotology book by Proctor and Schiebinger (Eds)Proctor, Richard. 2008. "Agnotology: A Missing Term to Describe the Cultural Production of Ignorance (and Its Study)." in Agnotology: The Making and Unmaking of Ignorance, edited by R. Proctor and L. Schiebinger. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Proctor, Richard and Londa Schiebinger (Eds.). 2008. Agnotology: The Making and Unmaking of Ignorance. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Rappert, Brian. 2012. How to Look Good in a War: Justifying and Challenging State Violence. London: Pluto.

Ravetz, Jerome R. 1987. "Usable Knowledge, Usable Ignorance: Incomplete Science with Policy Implications." Knowledge: Creation, Diffusion, Utilization 9:87-116. DOI: 10.1177/107554708700900104.

Ravetz, Jerome R. 1990. The merger of knowledge with power. Essays in critical science. London: Mansell.

Ravetz, Jerome R. 1993. "The Sin of Science: Ignorance of Ignorance." Knowledge: Creation, Diffusion, Utilization 15:157-165. DOI: 10.1177/107554709301500203.

Reser, Joseph P. and Michael J. Smithson. 1998. "When ignorance is adaptive: Not knowing about the nuclear threat." Knowledge in Society 1:7-27. DOI: 10.1007/BF02737056.

Roberts, Joanne and John Armitage. 2008. "The Ignorance Economy." Prometheus 26:335-354. DOI: 10.1080/08109020802459322.

Roberts, Joanne. 2012. "Organizational ignorance: Towards a managerial perspective on the unknown." Management Learning. DOI: 10.1177/1350507612443208.

Rawls, John. 1971. A theory of justice. Cambridge MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

Schneider, Louis. 1962. "The Role of the Category of Ignorance in Sociological Theory: An Exploratory Statement." American Sociological Review 27:492-508.

Simmel, Georg. 1906. "The Sociology of Secrecy and of Secret Societies." American Journal of Sociology 11:441-498.

Slater, Tom. 2012. "The Myth of “Broken Britain”: Welfare Reform and the Production of Ignorance." Antipode.1-22. doi: 10.1111/anti.12002.

van der Sluijs, Jeroen P. 2012. "Uncertainty and Dissent in Climate Risk Assessment: A Post-Normal Perspective." Nature and Culture 7:174-195. DOI: 10.3167/nc.2012.070204.

Smith, Holly M. 2011. "Non-Tracing Cases of Culpable Ignorance." Criminal Law and Philosophy 5:115-146.

Ignorance and Uncertainty by Michael SmithsonSmithson, Michael. 1985. "Toward a Social Theory of Ignorance." Journal of The theory of Social Behaviour 15:151-172. DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-5914.1985.tb00049.x.

Smithson, Michael. 1989. Ignorance and Uncertainty: Emerging Paradigms. London: Springer-Verlag.

Smithson, Michael. 1993. "Ignorance and Science: Dilemmas, Perspectives and Prospects." Knowledge: Creation, Diffusion, Utilization 15:133-156. DOI: 10.1177/107554709301500202.

Steyn, Melissa. 2012. "The ignorance contract: recollections of apartheid childhoods and the construction of epistemologies of ignorance." Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power 19:8-25. DOI: 10.1080/1070289X.2012.672840.

Stirling, Andrew. 2003. "Risk, uncertainty and precaution: some instrumental implications from the social sciences." in Negotiating Environmental Change: New Perspectives from Social Sciences, edited by F. Berkhout, M. Leach, and I. Scoones. Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar.

Stirling, A. 2010. "Keep it complex." Nature 468:1029-1031. DOI: 10.1038/4681029a.

Stocking, Holly S. and Lisa W. Holstein. 1993. "Constructing and Reconstructing Scientific Ignorance Claims in Science and Journalism." Knowledge: Creation, Diffusion, Utilization 15:186-210. DOI: 10.1177/107554709301500205.

Stocking, Holly S. and Lisa W. Holstein. 2009. "Manufacturing doubt: journalists' roles and the construction of ignorance in a scientific controversy." Public Understanding of Science 18:23-42. DOI: 10.1177/0963662507079373.

Sullivan, Shannon and Nancy Tuana (Ed.). 2007. Race and Epistemologies of Ignorance. Albany: State University of New York Press.

Twellmann, M. (ed). 2014. Nichtwissen als Ressource. ISBN 978-3-8487-1108-6.

Ungar, Sheldon. 2000. "Knowledge, ignorance and the popular culture: climate change versus the ozone hole." Public Understanding of Science 9:297-312. DOI: 10.1088/0963-6625/9/3/306.

Ungar, Sheldon. 2008. "Ignorance as an Under-Identified Social Problem." British Journal of Sociology 59:301-326.

Vitek, Bill and Wes Jackson (Ed.). 2008. The Virtues of Ignorance: Complexity, Sustainability, and the Limits of Knowledge. Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky.

Wehling, Peter. 2001. "Beyond Knowledge? Scientific Ignorance from a Sociological Point of View (in German with English abstract)." Zeitschrift für Soziologie 30:465-484.

Wehling, Peter. 2006. Im Schatten des Wissens? Perspektiven der Soziologie des Nichtwissens. Constanz: UVK.

Wehling, Peter. 2007. "Die Politisierung des Nichtwissens: Vorbote einer reflexiven Wissensgesellschaft?" Pp. 221-240 in Wissen in Bewegung. Vielfalt und Hegemonie in der Wissensgesellschaft, edited by S. Ammon, C. Heineke, K. Selbmann, and A. Hintz. Weilerswist: Velbruek Wissenschaft.

Whitfield, S. 2013. "Uncertainty, ignorance and ambiguity in crop modelling for African agricultural adaptation." Climatic Change. DOI - 10.1007/s10584-013-0795-3.

Witte, Marlys Hearst, Ann Kerwin, and Charles Witte. 1998. "Curriculum on Medical and Other Ignorance: Shifting Paradigms on Learning and Discovery." Pp. 125-156 in Memory Distortions and Their Prevention, edited by M. J. Intons-Peterson and D. Best. Mahwah NJ: Lawrence Erlaum Associates.

The Elephant in the Room by Eviatar ZerubavelWoodhouse, E.J., David Hess, Steve Breyman, and Brian Martin. 2002. "Science Studies and Activism: Possibilities and Problems for Reconstructivist Agendas." Social Studies of Science 32:297-319.

Wynne, Brian. 1992. "Uncertainty and environmental learning: Reconceiving science and policy in the preventive paradigm." Global Environmental Change 2:111-127. DOI: 0959-3780/92/02011 l-l 7.

Zerubavel, Eviatar. 2007. The Elephant in the Room: Silence and Denial in Everyday Life. New York: Oxford University Press.


*This selection of sociology of ignorance related resources is not exhaustive, your suggestions are welcome. Not all publications are open access, some will require your university library access. If a link is broken or leads to the wrong document, please let us know.

Sociology of Ignorance - La sociologie de l'ignorance - Soziologie des Nichtwissens

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