The Anthropology of Ignorance: An Ethnographic Approach

Hardcover | March 15, 2012

EditorJonathan Mair, Ann Kelly, Casey High

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The question of ignorance occupies a central place in anthropological theory and practice. This volume argues that the concept of ignorance has largely been pursued as the opposite of knowledge or even its obverse. Though they cover wide empirical ground - from clients of a fertility treatment center in New York to families grappling with suicide in Greenland - contributors share a commitment to understanding the concept as a productive, social practice. Ultimately, The Anthropology of Ignorance asks whether an academic commitment to knowledge can be squared with lived significance of ignorance and how taking it seriously might alter anthropological research practices.

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The question of ignorance occupies a central place in anthropological theory and practice. This volume argues that the concept of ignorance has largely been pursued as the opposite of knowledge or even its obverse. Though they cover wide empirical ground - from clients of a fertility treatment center in New York to families grappling w...

Casey High is a lecturer in the Department of Anthropology at Goldsmiths, University of London. His research with the Waorani communities of Amazonian Ecuador focuses on memory, violence, language, and indigenous politics. He is co-editor of the volume How Do We Know? Evidence, ethnography, and the making of anthropological knowledge ...
Format:HardcoverDimensions:230 pages, 8.56 × 5.66 × 0.72 inPublished:March 15, 2012Publisher:Palgrave MacmillanLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0230340822

ISBN - 13:9780230340824

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Making ignorance and ethnographic object - Jonathan Mair,Ann Kelly,and Casey High * PARTI: PERSONHOOD *Ontologies of Ignorance: strategic knowledge gaps in Amazonian shamanism and anthropological collaboration - Casey High * "I don't know why he did it. It just happened": causality and suicide in northwest Greenland - Janne Flora * Public secrets in public health: knowing not to know while making scientific Knowledge - P.W.Geissler * PART II: EXCHANGE * Sarax and the city: alms-giving and anonymous objects in Dakar, Senegal - Gretchen Pfeil * Discourses of the coming: ignorance, forgetting, and prolepsis in Japanese life-historiography - Shunsuke Nozawa * Evoking ignorance: knowing and unknowing network others - David S. Leitner * PART III: TIME * Inhabiting the temporary: uncertainty and patience among urban squatters in Buenos Aires - Valeria Procupez* 'Fertility. Freedom. Finally.': cultivating hope in the face of uncertain futures among egg-freezing women - Tiffany Romain

Editorial Reviews

"The Anthropology of Ignorance: An Ethnographic Approach brings an interesting balance of theory , conceptualisation, and case studies, mainly for scholars and not for undergraduates. As a matter of fact, many future essay s and books could be written thanks to the doors this book just opened." - European Journal of American Studies "The Anthropology of Ignorance is an ambitious project that addresses the inattention to stances of ignorance or efforts at unknowing which anthropologists may encounter in their ethnographic subjects but which they patch over by making the latter's every gesture and word overly meaningful, or rather too knowing. The book is timely as it is one of the first to decisively take on a persistent element of the world, particularly in its knowledge systems and everyday lives. This is one of only a few books decisively addressing the issue of ignorance in social life and scholarship." - Naveeda Khan, Department of Anthropology, Johns Hopkins University