Current research

Broadly described as ‘the social life of concepts‘, my work spans the fields of social and political theory, sociology of knowledge, political sociology, and philosophy of social science. More specifically, I research the relationship between modes of knowing about (that is, ideas, institutions, and practices of knowledge production), and modes of being in the world (that is, how they relate to economic, political and affective regimes).

My current research takes the concern about the relationship between ontology, epistemology, and social inequalities to reflect on current political transformations, including the climate crisis. It asks: how do systems, structures and practices of knowledge production relate to the future? What kind of narrative and methodological devices do they generate or use? What kind of futures do they envisage – and, concomittantly, what kind of futures do they prevent us from seeing? I am particularly interested in the following:

  • Relationship between knowledge, prediction, and agency

Both policy and everyday discourses assume the link between knowledge and agency. That is, increased awareness of the causes as well as consequences of specific occurrences, objects, or events, is assumed to correlate with a wider scope of possible reactions in relation to them. How do social systems for mediating knowledge and expertise – from education institutions to social media – interact with this link? What does the context of pluralisation of ‘legitimate’ ways of knowing (and the disputes surrounding validity of knowledge) mean for how people act and reflect on their actions? How do people and systems for knowledge production ‘back-propagate’ predictions of election or referendum outcomes, natural disasters, or wars? How do concepts of ‘agnotology’ or ignorance link to this?

A longer reflection on these topics is here.

My broader theoretical project is to build a relational ontology of knowledge production. The relational ontology of knowledge production combines elements of existentialist philosophy and ethics with feminist and standpoint epistemologies. It centres the relationship between knowledge producers (or epistemic subjects) and collective, institutional, and material arrangements of knowledge production to reflect on questions of authority, reflexivity and self-knowledge (or self-ignorance) as well as their moral, ethical, and political implications for issues such as climate change, Open Access, public engagement or expertise. This article in Social Epistemology offers a theoretical summary of some of these arguments, as does the accompanying blog post.

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