Publication Date


Journal or Book Title

Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology


Social informatics researchers use a variety of techniques to explore the intersections between technology and society. Current interest has turned to making more explicit our commonly tacit knowledge processes that involve people and technology. Knowledge creation, sharing, and management processes are commonly hidden, and this is even more the case regarding ignorance processes such as the denial and obfuscation of knowledge. Understanding the construction, generation, and perpetuation of ignorance can: (i) provide insights into social phenomena that might otherwise seem inexplicable (for instance, persistence of “urban myths”), and (ii) enable development of interventions to either facilitate (as with privacy‐sensitive material) or combat (as with malicious disinformation) ignorance. Although several pressing information issues relate to ignorance, agnotology (the study of ignorance) has only recently entered into the information science literature. An agnotologic approach expands the repertoire of methods and approaches in social informatics, better enabling the field to grapple with pressing contemporary issues of mis/dis/lack of information. Using Robert Proctor's typology of constructions of ignorance, this article describes ways that each type may be germane to and within social informatics, highlighting social informatics topics that would benefit from agnotologic exploration, and suggesting theoretical and methodological approaches useful to a social informatics of ignorance.







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