The Unknowers

The Unknowers : How Strategic Ignorance Rules the World

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Deliberate ignorance has been known as the `Ostrich
Instruction' in law courts since the 1860s. It illustrates a recurring pattern
in history in which figureheads for major companies, political leaders and
industry bigwigs plead ignorance to avoid culpability. So why do so many
figures at the top still get away with it when disasters on their watch damage
so many people's lives?

When the phone hacking scandal rocked the United Kingdom in
2011, Rupert Murdoch, CEO of News International, knew nothing of the criminal
goings-on. After a fire swept through the Grenfell Tower, it soon came to light
that the tragedy was a result of the wilful ignorance of experts. Does the idea
that knowledge is power still apply in today's post-truth world?

Encompassing the building of industrial empires in 19th
century America to the legal defences of today, The Unknowers shows that ignorance has not only long been an inherent
part big business, but also that true power lies in the ability to convince
others of where the boundary between ignorance and knowledge lies.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 256 pages
  • 140 x 222mm
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 178032636X
  • 9781780326368

Table of contents

Introduction: The Power to Ignore

1. Narrow History

2. Seeing Ignorance Differently

3. Elite Agnotologists

4. The Murdoch Strategy

5. Suspicious Attention

6. Know-it-all Epistocrats

7. Conflict Blindness

8. Masters of Industry, Masters of ignorance

9. The Ostrich Instruction

10. Good Experts

11. The Pretense of Ignorance

Conclusion: The Great Enlargement
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About Linsey McGoey

Linsey McGoey is a writer and sociologist based in the United Kingdom. She has written for the Guardian, The Times, the Spectator, Jacobin and Fortune, is author of No Such Thing as a Free Gift (2015) and co-editor of the Routledge Handbook of Ignorance Studies (2015). She is currently a Reader in Sociology at the University of Essex.
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