Strategic ignorance and global governance an ecumenical approach to epistemologies of global po...

Grégoire MALLARD

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.

Read the full article on the Onlinelibrary