Agnotology: Ignorance and Absence, or Towards a Sociology of Things that Aren’t There

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Scopus citations


The study of ignorance, or agnotology, has many similarities with studies of absence. This chapter outlines a framework for agnotology which is shaped by interdisciplinary studies of both ignorance and absence, and identifies properties such as chronicity, granularity, scale, intentionality, and ontology in relation to epistemology as useful for studying ignorance. These properties can be used to compare various case studies. While not all problems of ignorance are problems of absent knowledge, those that are can gain by an examination of the literatures on absence and the concept of the privative. The lack of symmetry in explanation and representation are methodological challenges to studying ignorances and absences. Space, geography, and landscape have both metaphoric and literal engagements with the production and distribution of knowledge and non-knowledges.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationKnowledge and Space
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages23
StatePublished - 2018

Publication series

NameKnowledge and Space
ISSN (Print)1877-9220
ISSN (Electronic)2543-0580


  • absence
  • agnotology
  • ignorance
  • privative
  • symmetry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)


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