States of ignorance: The unmaking and remaking of death tolls
Economy and Society
Taylor & Francis
This article considers the complications and tensions associated with knowing about ignorance. In particular it attends to how the social analysis of ignorance hazards being associated with its production. In does so through questioning how the UK government contended the number of civilian deaths stemming from the 2003 Iraq invasion could not ‘reliably’ be known. The twists and turns of official public statements are interpreted against back region government and civil service deliberations obtained under the British Freedom of Information Act. Far from settling what took place, however, this material intensified the problems with analysts attributing and characterizing strategies for manufacturing ignorance. From an examination of the choices, contingencies, and challenges in the way actors and analysts depict ignorance, this article then considers future possibilities for inquiry whereby social analysts can question their ignorance while questioning claims to ignorance.
Vol. 41, Issue 1, pp. 42 - 63