ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

Back to Paper Details

States of Ignorance: The Unmaking and Remaking of Death Tolls

Open Panel

Abstract

As part of the bringing greater theoretical and empirical understanding to political violence, this presentation asks: How is ignorance produced about the harms of conflict? In doing so, the complications and tensions associated with knowing about ignorance will be examined. These themes are explored in relation the Iraq war. The argument will be forwarded that the UK government actively sought to maintain a position of ignorance regarding measurements of death, injury and deprivation resulting from violence in Iraq. This means not simply that UK officials did not know the impact of violence, but that they worked – in various ways – to avoid knowing. The twists and turns of official public statements are interpreted against back region government and civil service deliberations obtained under the British Freedom of Information Act. Far from settling what took place, however, this material also intensifies many problem the problems with analysts attributing and characterizing strategies for manufacturing ignorance. From an examination of the choices, contingencies, and challenges in the way actors and analysts depict ignorance, this presentation will considers future possibilities for inquiry whereby analysts can question their ignorance while questioning claims to ignorance.