On the Politics of Ignorance in Nursing and Health Care
Routledge – 2016 – 136 pages
Ignorance is mostly framed as a void, a gap to be filled with appropriate knowledge. In nursing and health care, concerns about ignorance fuel searches for knowledge expected to bring certainty to care provision, preventing risk, accidents, or mistakes. This unique volume turns the focus on ignorance as something productive in itself and works to understand how ignorance and its operations shape what we do and do not know.
Focusing explicitly on nursing practice and its organization within contemporary health settings, Perron and Rudge draw on contemporary interdisciplinary debates to discuss social processes informed by ignorance, ignorance’s temporal and spatial boundaries, and how ignorance defines what can be known by specific groups with differential access to power and social status. Using feminist, postcolonial and historical analyses, this book challenges dominant conceptualizations and discusses a range of "nonknowledges" in nursing and health work, including uncertainty, abjection, denial, deceit and taboo. It also explores the way dominant research and managerial practices perpetuate ignorance in healthcare organisations.
In health contexts, productive forms of ignorance can help to future-proof understandings about the management of healthy/sick bodies and those caring for them. Linking these considerations to nurses’ approaches to challenges in practice, this book helps to unpack the power situated in the use of ignorance and pays special attention to what is safe or unsafe to know, from both individual and organisational perspectives.
On the Politics of Ignorance in Nursing and Health Care is an innovative read for all students and researchers in nursing and the health sciences interested in understanding more about transactions between epistemologies, knowledge building practices and research in the health domain. It will also be of interest to scholars involved in the interdisciplinary study of ignorance.
1. Introduction 2. Ignorance: Current Conceptualisation 3. Ignorance… Knowledge Interrupted 4. Abjection, Taboo and Dangerous Knowledge 5. The (Bio)Politics of Ignorance 6. Ignorance in Nursing: Its Uses and Abuses 7. Conclusion
Amélie Perron is Associate Professor in the School of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Ottawa, Canada.
Trudy Rudge is the Professor of Nursing (Social Sciences and Humanities) at Sydney Nursing School, University of Sydney, Australia.