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Dynamics of wilful blindness: an introduction

Bovensiepen, Judith and Pelkmans, Mathijs ORCID: 0000-0001-5188-3470 (2020) Dynamics of wilful blindness: an introduction. Critique of Anthropology, 40 (4). pp. 387-402. ISSN 0308-275X

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Identification Number: 10.1177/0308275X20959432


What are the politics of ignorance in an age of misinformation? How can the concept of ‘wilful blindness’ help us to understand the logics involved? We start the introduction to this special issue by arguing that the intrinsic instability of wilful blindness draws valuable attention to the graded nature of intentionality and perception, and the tensions between them. These features are an essential part of the workings of ignorance, as we illustrate with reference to the shifting intentions of drug couriers, the fleeting moments in which the humanity of victims is recognised in the midst of violent acts, and the affects that channel economic behaviour, such as in the subprime mortgage crisis. When approaching perception and intentionality as complexly entangled in institutionalised fields of power, ‘wilful blindness’ emerges as a powerful and critical diagnostic of the epistemic instabilities of our time.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2020 The Authors
Divisions: Anthropology
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
J Political Science > JC Political theory
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Date Deposited: 14 May 2020 11:21
Last Modified: 12 Jul 2024 03:12

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