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Strategic ignorance and global governance: an ecumenical approach to epistemologies of global power

Mallard, Grégoire and McGoey, Linsey (2018) 'Strategic ignorance and global governance: an ecumenical approach to epistemologies of global power.' The British Journal of Sociology, 69 (4). 884 - 909. ISSN 0007-1315

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How can we account for the role of ignorance and knowledge in global governance? It is a contention of earlier scholarship in international relations and political sociology that knowledge production is tightly coupled with rational action – regardless of whether knowledge widely influences different stakeholders or not. This scholarship equally tends to assume an ignorance‐knowledge binary relationship that associates ignorance with powerlessness and knowledge with power. This is a view we dispute. Calling for a new approach to the study of ignorance and knowledge in international politics, our article builds on research from ignorance studies, science and technology studies and critical race theory to derive a novel typology of epistemologies of power in which truth and ignorance are defined and combined in a plurality of ways. Approaching differing epistemologies of power in the transnational realm in a general or ‘ecumenical’ manner, we identify weaknesses in earlier approaches to the study of knowledge production in global affairs, and present four new concepts: ‘factual determinism’, ‘cynical realism’, ‘unseeing proceduralism’ and ‘hopeful constructivism’. Through this framework, our article calls for greater recognition of the constitutive role that ignorance plays in operations of power on a global scale.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Global governance, world polity, epistemic communities, strategic ignorance, knowledge
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology, Department of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 28 Jan 2019 16:04
Last Modified: 28 Jan 2019 16:04

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