CeASR Seminar: Agnotology, Resilience and Neoliberalism
Speaker: Dr John Gregson
Agnotology refers to the social construction of ignorance or ‘nonknowledge’ and has been strategically employed by governments and corporations across a range of vital public health, security and environmental issues. Climate change, counter-insurgency and the tobacco industry are three areas where strategies of deception and misinformation have been prevalent. Agnotology has much in common with a specific understanding of resilience as ‘embedded neoliberalism’. This paper suggests that neoliberalism uses similar agnotological strategies of uncertainty, unknowability and complexity to both avoid blame for the crises it creates and shift responsibility to the individual. In turn, both agnotology and neoliberal resilience – in the dual-sense of its continuation and successful transformation of the subject – can be further understood as part of the institutionalised failures of liberal modernity itself.