"The use of the borders and the limits of knowing, including the intentional and the unintentional consideration or bracketing out of what is not known, towards the achievement of goals (i.e., social, cultural, political, professional, and economic)"
Ignorance mobilization complements 'knowledge mobilization' in the
social scientific investigation of research and innovation.
Joanne Gaudet, BSc, BA, MA, PhD (Candidate) (ABD)
Sociology, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
As a doctoral candidate (ABD) in sociology, I have the privilege of exploring our world through a social scientific lens. My main areas of interest revolve around the 'science and technology' - 'society' relationship, especially with regard to the environment and to knowledge and ignorance. I use ignorance in a non-pejorative way - referring here to the borders and the limits of knowing. This is in keeping with German sociologist Matthias Gross' work on ignorance and surprise and within the area of research of the sociology of ignorance.
My new concept of 'ignorance mobilization' (the use of ignorance towards the achievement of goals) complements knowledge mobilization scholarship. It also contributes to capturing the dynamic relationship between knowledge and ignorance in science research and in science and business innovation. I invite you to browse through my working papers and presentations (oral and poster) to learn more about my understanding of ignorance mobilization dynamics.
Ignorance is fundamentally constructed as a valuable resources in research and innovation where “identifying, structuring, and evaluating problems in ways that allow their solution are therefore as important-arguably more important-than finding solutions”. In essence, “[w]e must know what we do not know before we can effectively solve any problem” or else “…poorly posed questions divert energy, resources, and ideas” (Boot-Bernstein, 2003:170). Understanding the social construction of ignorance, therefore, is as critical as understanding the social construction of knowledge. Undue focus on knowledge mobilization, I argue, creates a blind spot to understanding core social and epistemic dynamics in research and innovation.
For my doctoral research project, I investigate how peer review produces and reproduces ignorance in science. My doctoral research is entitled - Ignorance (re)production in scientific and medical journal editorial peer review: A case study of the social form of closed pre-publication journal editorial peer review. I hope that by sharing my theoretical, conceptual and empirical contributions through this website, I can continue to contribute to the emerging dialogue on the role of ignorance (and non-knowledge) in a 'knowledge society'.