The Organization of Ignorance: An Ethnographic Study of the Production of Subjects and Objects in an Artificial Intelligence Project

Line Kirkegaard, Anders Raastrup Kristensen, Tomas Skov Lauridsen

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This article is a study of the role of organization of ignorance in an artificial intelligence project in a municipality in Denmark. It raises the issue of how to understand the process through which a seemingly ordinary project involving the development of an algorithm for decision support turns into a fantastical, creative reimagining of subjects and objects through the organization of ignorance. Unlike many ignorance studies, we do not examine ignorance and knowledge through the lens of intentionality or strategic interest. We instead adopt a distinct Deleuzian perspective on ignorance based on the idea of the ´will to ignorance´ as productive force that forms subjects and objects of ignorance. By observing the project management team over time, the article shows how it transforms a mundane task into an imaginative quest through the will to ignorance. The findings contribute not only empirically to the understanding of ignorance in organizations but also show the utility of adopting a non-intentional perspective in this kind of study.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEphemera: Theory & politics in organization
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)161-187
Number of pages27
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023


  • Artificial intelligence
  • Public administration
  • Organisational ignorance
  • Deleuze
  • Will to ignorance

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