Ignorance

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‘Anthropology, of course, may be best known for the claim that full participation in any human activity requires forms of knowledge, particularly the knowledge of the ‘cultural’ forms of this participation. … Not so paradoxically, anthropology is also famous for the claim that this knowledge disappears from awareness into the ‘taken-for-granted’ or the ‘common sense’.’ (Varenne 2009: 338).

‘Anthropology has often been caught by the charge to identify those forms of ignorance that should then be remedied by the State (for example mothers in Japan should receive parent education). The more radical anthropologists have sought to identify the forms of ignorance that should lead to changes in the State.’ (Varenne 2009: 341)

Ignorance has no hierarchy (McGoey 2011: 154-155). ‘But [Varenne continues] anthropologists must first systematize the analysis of the production of acknowledged ignorance, and particularly of the conditions that lead to determined searches for new knowledge.’ (Varenne 2009: 341)

References
McGoey, L., 2011. Police reinforcement: The anti-politics of organizational life. In P. Bowman & R. Stamp, eds. Reading Rancière: Critical dissensus. London & New York: Continuum, pp. 148–162.
Varenne, H., 2009. Conclusion: the powers of ignorance: on finding out what to do next. Critical Studies in Education, 50(3), pp.337–343.

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