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Ignorance and Surprise : Science, Society, and Ecological Design - Matthias Gross

Ignorance and Surprise

Science, Society, and Ecological Design

Hardcover Published: 7th May 2010
ISBN: 9780262013482
Number Of Pages: 256
For Ages: 18+ years old

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Ignorance and surprise belong together: surprises can make people aware of their own ignorance. And yet, perhaps paradoxically, a surprising event in scientific research--one that defies prediction or risk assessment--is often a window to new and unexpected knowledge. In this book, Matthias Gross examines the relationship between ignorance and surprise, proposing a conceptual framework for handling the unexpected and offering case studies of ecological design that demonstrate the advantages of allowing for surprises and including ignorance in the design and negotiation processes. Gross draws on classical and contemporary sociological accounts of ignorance and surprise in science and ecology and integrates these with the idea of experiment in society. He develops a notion of how unexpected occurrences can be incorporated into a model of scientific and technological development that includes the experimental handling of surprises. Gross discusses different projects in ecological design, including Chicago's restoration of the shoreline of Lake Michigan and Germany's revitalization of brownfields near Leipzig. These cases show how ignorance and surprise can successfully play out in ecological design projects, and how the acknowledgment of the unknown can become a part of decision making. The appropriation of surprises can lead to robust design strategies. Ecological design, Gross argues, is neither a linear process of master planning nor a process of trial and error but a carefully coordinated process of dealing with unexpected turns by means of experimental practice. "Inside Technology series"

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.

-Choice
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 * Reviews *
[A]n excellent historiography of social science philosophies of learning.

-International Social Science Review * Reviews *
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 * Reviews *
A nicely focused approach to joining theory and practice for shaping the environment for human use.

-Building Research & Information * Reviews *
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.

-Choice * Reviews *

List of Figures and Tablesp. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Introduction: Brave the Unknownp. 1
Landscapes, Precaution, and Experimentp. 2
Objectivesp. 6
Concepts
Experiments and Surprises: Classical and Contemporary Perspectivesp. 13
Knowledge Societies and the Inevitability of Surprisesp. 14
The Transdisciplinarity of Ecological Restorationp. 19
New Modes of Experimental Knowledge Productionp. 25
Public Experiments: Producing Surprise and (Occasional) Delightp. 29
Toward an Empirically Grounded Typology of Surprisesp. 34
New Nature, New Surprises: Return of an Extinct Carnivorep. 44
Knowledge Production and the Recurrence of Ignorancep. 49
Knowledge in a Sea of Ignorancep. 50
Nescience, Ignorance, and Nonknowledgep. 53
Studying the Other Side of Knowledgep. 59
Dynamics of the Unknownp. 67
More Questions than Answers: The Case of Malaria Controlp. 71
Toward the Experimental Integration of Ignorance and Surprisep. 75
Practice
Ecological Restoration and Experimental Learningp. 83
Ecology in Society: The Shifting Boundaries of Ecological Restorationp. 84
New Land: Shaping the Chicago Shorelinep. 91
Public Participation and Controversies over "Real" Naturep. 95
Surprises Appropriated: Native Birds, Nonnative Bushes, and the Arrival of Baby Dunesp. 99
Maintaining Integrity in the Face of Surprisesp. 106
Aligning Research and Heterogeneous Social Goalsp. 109
Robust Restoration Strategies through Recursive Practicep. 114
Postindustrial Landscapes as Laboratories of Changep. 121
Europe's Largest Landscape Construction Sitep. 122
The Design of a Lake District: New Nature in Postmining Landscapesp. 128
Anticipated Acidification and Surprising Heavy Metalsp. 134
Fleeing Forward: Fast Flooding as Acting in the Face of Nonknowledgep. 140
Trust and Nonknowledge: Research in the Context of its Applicationp. 143
Further into the Unknown: Rising Water, Shrinking Populationp. 149
The Challenge of Keeping Surprises Surprisingp. 155
Outlook
Welcome Surprises and New Edifices of Knowledgep. 165
Modernity and the Unanticipated Consequences of Progressp. 166
Research as Application: Toward an Experimental Knowledge Societyp. 168
Perspective: Surprises as Opportunity, Nonknowledge as a Working Basep. 178
Notesp. 183
Referencesp. 197
Indexp. 229
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780262013482
ISBN-10: 0262013487
Series: Inside Technology
Audience: Professional
For Ages: 18+ years old
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 256
Published: 7th May 2010
Publisher: MIT Press Ltd
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.9 x 15.2  x 1.9
Weight (kg): 0.5