Ignorance and Surprise


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Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tables ix
Acknowledgments xi
1 Introduction: Brave the Unknown 1
Landscapes, Precaution, and Experiment 2
Objectives 6
Part I Concepts
2 Experiments and Surprises: Classical and Contemporary
Perspectives 13
Knowledge Societies and the Inevitability of Surprises 14
The Transdisciplinarity of Ecological Restoration 19
New Modes of Experimental Knowledge Production 25
Public Experiments: Producing Surprise and (Occasional) Delight 29
Toward an Empirically Grounded Typology of Surprises 34
New Nature, New Surprises: Return of an Extinct Carnivore 44
3 Knowledge Production and the Recurrence of Ignorance 49
Knowledge in a Sea of Ignorance 50
Nescience, Ignorance, and Nonknowledge 53
Studying the Other Side of Knowledge 59
Dynamics of the Unknown 67
More Questions than Answers: The Case of Malaria Control 71
Toward the Experimental Integration of Ignorance and Surprise 75
Part II Practice
4 Ecological Restoration and Experimental Learning 83
Ecology in Society: The Shifting Boundaries of Ecological Restoration 84
New Land: Shaping the Chicago Shoreline 91
viii Contents
Public Participation and Controversies over " Real "Nature 95
Surprises Appropriated: Native Birds, Nonnative Bushes, and the Arrival of Baby
Dunes 99
Maintaining Integrity in the Face of Surprises 106
Aligning Research and Heterogeneous Social Goals 109
Robust Restoration Strategies through Recursive Practice 114
5 Postindustrial Landscapes as Laboratories of Change 121
Europe ' s Largest Landscape Construction Site 122
The Design of a Lake District: New Nature in Postmining Landscapes 128
Anticipated Acidifi cation and Surprising Heavy Metals 134
Fleeing Forward: Fast Flooding as Acting in the Face of Nonknowledge 140
Trust and Nonknowledge: Research in the Context of Its Application 143
Further into the Unknown: Rising Water, Shrinking Population 149
The Challenge of Keeping Surprises Surprising 155
Part III Outlook
6 Welcome Surprises and New Edifi ces of Knowledge 165
Modernity and the Unanticipated Consequences of Progress 166
Research as Application: Toward an Experimental Knowledge Society 168
Perspective: Surprises as Opportunity, Nonknowledge as a Working Base 178
Notes 183
References 197
Index 229

About the Author

Matthias Gross is Senior Researcher in the Department of Urban and Environmental Sociology at Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research-UFZ.


Gross' book is an excellent contribution to the analytical terrain of uncertainty in studies of science-society relations and will bode well for scholars interested in expanded societal membership in the production of knowledge.--Metascience--

[A]n excellent historiography of social science philosophies of learning.

--International Social Science Review--

What kinds of science will help us navigate the Anthropocene? Matthias Gross's book takes an important step toward answering that question.

--Science as Culture--

A nicely focused approach to joining theory and practice for shaping the environment for human use.

--Building Research & Information--

Offers an important postnormal model of a science that counters the absolute pronouncements and rhetoric of a traditional science that fears ignorance and surprise, but that at the same time preserves the best parts of the scientific enterprise...Highly recommended.


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