This essay explores the management and creation of ignorance via an exploration of the landscape of eastern Germany, which has seen profound social, political, and technological changes over the past several decades. Like in many places around the world decision makers in eastern Germany are seeking to reach a future state where seemingly conflicting outcomes related to the economy and the environment are simultaneously realized. The management of ignorance is an important but often overlooked consideration in decision making that the concept of "post-normal science" places into our focus of attention.
Roger A. Pielke
This article presents a long-term study of German waste management policies and technologies as they developed during the second half of the twentieth century. The postwar "waste avalanche" called for quick and crude political decisions. Unexpected environmental side effects prompted new governance and leads through six different stages of policies based on scientific models and advanced technologies—all of them controversial. The case exemplifies a typical condition of a knowledge society. Politics demands a reliable knowledge base for rational decision making. Science, however, supplies open-ended research and increases uncertainties. Turning the dilemma into an operational perspective, I suggest speaking of processes of real-world experimentation with waste. The transformation of waste from something to be ignored and disregarded into an epistemic object of concern is bound to experimenting with existing and newly designed waste sites as well as with socio-technical management systems. The study focuses on the development in Germany. Its general features, however, are characteristic for comparable industrial societies.
Stirred by the University of St Andrews’s 25th Anniversary Conference—celebrating twentyfive years of the anthropology department—entitled ‘Ways of Knowing’, my objective is to reflect on some of the works presented as they pertain to my own interests in shamanry and Amerindian perspectivism. As a master’s student, it was imperative to attend this conference, since it served as a forum in which to discuss the foundations on which (I think) anthropology is based: knowledge and what the individual accepts or rejects as being knowledge.
For more than a century, statistics describing immigration and assimilation in France have been based on citizenship and place of birth. The recent concern for racial discrimination has given rise to a heated controversy over whether to introduce so-called "ethnic categories" into official statistics. In this article, I make an assessment of the kind of statistics that are available today and the rationale behind their design. I then discuss the main arguments put forward in the controversy and argue that antidiscrimination policies have created a new need for statistics that outweigh the arguments against the use of "ethnic statistics." In fact, beyond the technical dimension of this controversy lies a more general political debate about the multicultural dimensions of French society.
This article modifies philosopher Tamar Szabó Gendler's theory of imaginative resistance in order to make it applicable to film and analyze a distinctively adverse kind of resistant response to James Cameron's Avatar (2009). Gendler's theory, as she states it, seeks to explain resistance to literary stories in a straightforwardly cognitivist, but narrowly rationalistic fashion. This article introduces elements from recent work at the intersection of philosophy of film and the emotions to augment Gendler's theory so that it can be used to explain why some viewers hesitate or even refuse to imagine some cinematic fictional worlds. The method used is analytic philosophy of film. The analysis reveals that some viewers are cognitively impoverished with regard to imagining race in general: they will likely have extreme difficulty in centrally imagining racially "other" characters, which also bodes ill for their real-world prospects for moral engagements concerning race.
This article argues that cognitive film theory has largely overlooked the phenomenon of disgust insofar as it can be racialized, but could be developed to account for it. Critical race theory, especially in its analytic mode, has similarly failed to offer an account of racialized disgust, although some thinkers in the phenomenological tradition have analyzed related phenomena. The article proposes to reconcile these three research areas by drawing on recent work concerning disgust and arguing for its relevance to viewers’ reactions to depictions of race in film, thereby developing an improved set of diagnostic tools for the analysis of cinematic spectatorship. The method used is analytic philosophy of film. The analysis reveals that many viewers embody their sense of race through disgust reactions and that these reactions constitute crucial components regarding how they perceive and understand narrative characters in film.
Jeroen P. van der Sluijs
Uncertainty complexity and dissent make climate change hard to tackle with normal scientific procedures. In a post-normal perspective the normal science task of "getting the facts right" is still regarded as necessary but no longer as fully feasible nor as sufficient to interface science and policy. It needs to be complemented with a task of exploring the relevance of deep uncertainty and ignorance that limit our ability to establish objective, reliable, and valid facts. This article explores the implications of this notion for the climate science policy interface. According to its political configuration the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) adopted a "speaking consensus to power" approach that sees uncertainty and dissent as a problematic lack of unequivocalness (multiple contradictory truths that need to be mediated into a consensus). This approach can be distinguished from two other interface strategies: the "speaking truth to power approach," seeing uncertainties as a temporary lack of perfection in the knowledge (truth with error bars) and the "working deliberatively within imperfections" approach, accepting uncertainty and scientific dissent as facts of life (irreducible ignorance) of which the policy relevance needs be explored explicitly. The article recommends more openness for dissent and explicit reflection on ignorance in IPCC process and reporting.
A penis-care information gap exists in North America where most physicians and parents do not know how to care for an intact boy’s penis, especially his foreskin. They lack basic knowledge and personal experience, which would allow them to advise or provide proper care for boys. Unless this gap is filled with reliable information, many boys are at risk for penile problems and perhaps even circumcision—something that the parents and the boy would like to avoid. The causes and problems resulting from this clear case of remediable medical ignorance are discussed, and solutions offered.
Kristin Soraya Batmanghelichi
In Iran, as in many countries worldwide, misinformation and ignorance of HIV/AIDS have encouraged a culture of secrecy and anonymity for those living with HIV. For many HIV-positive women, religious, political and economic pressures complicate their social status and access to health care. Moreover, they must contend with societal discrimination and stigmas associated with the condition. Adding nuance to contemporary studies on gender and sexuality in Iran, this report highlights the colourful narratives of a select group of HIV-positive mothers attending weekly wellness workshops in Tehran. Discussing issues of intimacy, modesty, motherhood and stigmatisation, this article explores one of Iran's expanding communities at risk of infection and the ways in which women with HIV negotiate the stigma of their condition in an Islamic Republic.
It is a great privilege to have been invited to give this lecture in memory of David Goldstein, zikhrono livrakha. He was one of the great scholars and teachers of our movement and he died tragically young. I recall in particular a series of lectures he gave at the College on the Golden Age of Spain. In one of the earlier ones he noted that while at school he had been taught about the so-called 'dark ages' in Europe when there was little in the way of cultural development. The only exception, he had been taught, was the single shining light provided by the Venerable Bede. It was only in later life that he discovered that at the same time when Christian Europe was 'in the dark', Islamic Spain was going through its 'golden age' with an extraordinary flourishing culture that nourishes us till today. That same kind of cultural narrowness and ignorance seems to be no less a problem today when considering the Muslim presence in Europe, and I am always pleased to use that illustration to challenge people to think more broadly.