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Regimes of Ignorance: Anthropological Perspectives on the Production and Reproduction of Non-Knowledge

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Volume 29

Methodology & History in Anthropology

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Regimes of Ignorance

Anthropological Perspectives on the Production and Reproduction of Non-Knowledge

Edited by Roy Dilley and Thomas G. Kirsch

224 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78238-838-8 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (October 2015)

ISBN  978-1-78533-746-8 $34.95/£27.95 / Pb / Published (October 2017)

eISBN 978-1-78238-839-5 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit Buy the eBook from these vendorsRequest a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


“…the book offers an ethnographically-informed thought exercise that brings home the idea that ignorance and knowledge are interconnected….[It] succeeds in an effective portrayal of the subjects and regimes, which, far from being the eager epistemophilics that modern thought envisions, choose purposeful ignorance instead.” · Anthropological Notebooks

“What Kirsch and all the contributors to the volume illustrate is that, although anthropology is a latecomer to the topic of agnotology, the discipline has much to offer, especially in expanding the range of the study beyond Western science and corporations and in identifying the constructive processes and effective outcomes of ignorance-making.” · Anthropology Review Database

“...first-rate scholarship from beginning to end. [The book] reads very nicely and has been properly organized and edited. Another strong aspect of the volume is the diverse range of geographical locations, thereby making the anthropological — i.e. general and possibly universal — argument much more convincing. . . Overall, I think the volume makes a significant and original contribution to scholarship in anthropology.” · Mark Harris, University of St Andrews


Non-knowledge should not be simply regarded as the opposite of knowledge, but as complementary to it: each derives its character and meaning from the other and from their interaction. Knowledge does not colonize the space of ignorance in the progressive march of science; rather, knowledge and ignorance are mutually shaped in social and political domains of partial, shifting, and temporal relationships. This volume’s ethnographic analyses provide a theoretical frame through which to consider the production and reproduction of ignorance, non-knowledge, and secrecy, as well as the wider implications these ideas have for anthropology and related disciplines in the social sciences and humanities.

Roy Dilley is Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of St Andrews. His books include Islamic and Caste Knowledge Practices among Haalpulaaren (2004), Nearly Native, Barely Civilized: Henri Gaden's Journey Across Colonial French West Africa (2014) and Rencontres photographiques: Henri Gaden, photographe, en Afrique Occidentale, with the Archives nationales d'outre-mer, Aix-en-Provence.

Thomas G. Kirsch is Professor of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Konstanz. Recent publications include Spirits and Letters: Reading, Writing and Charisma in African Christianity (Berghahn Books, 2008), Domesticating Vigilantism in Africa (co-edited with Tilo Grätz; James Currey, 2010) and Ethical Fields in Africa (co-edited with Astrid Bochow and Rijk van Dijk, 2017).

Subject: Theory and Methodology


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