Geographies of uncertainty

Nari Senanayake, Brian King

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The question of uncertainty has generated substantial critical engagements across the social sciences. While much of this literature falls within the domains of anthropology, science studies, and sociology, this short introductory paper highlights how geographical scholarship can also enrich emerging transdisciplinary debates on uncertainty. Specifically, we discuss how geographers engage with uncertainties produced through and reconfigured by some of the most formidable issues of our contemporary moment, including neoliberal transformation, disease and illness, resource conflict, global climate change, and ongoing struggles around knowledge, power, and justice. In conversation with debates in cognate fields, this special issue brings together contributions that grapple with uncertainty through key geographic concepts such as scale, power, spatiality, place, and human-environment relations. This work extends scholarly understanding of how uncertainty arises, is stabilized, and also how people navigate, experience, challenge, and rationalize uncertainty in everyday life. In doing so, we signal the immense potential offered by emerging intersections between human geography and broader critical social science interventions on the question of uncertainty.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-135
Number of pages7
StatePublished - Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank all of the authors who contributed their articles to this special issue and the reviewers for their helpful and timely comments. We are especially grateful to Harvey Neo for his insightful feedback and patience in helping steer this project towards completion. The special issue emerged from a series of AAG sessions in 2018, where these papers received constructive comments and encouragement from our generous discussants, Rebecca Lave and David Demeritt. Particular thanks to Arielle Hesse and A. Marie Ranjbar for valuable comments on previous drafts of this introduction.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Ltd


  • Geographic concepts
  • Geographic knowledge
  • Politics
  • Uncertainty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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