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Hidden and forbidden: conceptualising dark knowledge.

Burnett, Simon; Lloyd, Annemaree


Simon Burnett

Annemaree Lloyd


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to introduce the concept of Dark Knowledge, an epistemology which acknowledges both alternative knowledges and ways of knowing which are cognizant of the moral and ethical positioning of each. Design/methodology/approach: This is a conceptual paper which uses existing relevant literatures to develop the work. The paper uses a four-stage literature search process, and draws upon a range of disciplines including philosophy, computer science and information management to underpin the evolution of the concept. Findings: As a conceptual paper, no empirical findings are presented. Instead, the paper presents an embryonic model of Dark Knowledge, and identifies a number of characteristics which may be used to explore the concept in more detail. Research limitations/implications: There is a clear need to develop a body of empirical work adding to the theoretical perspectives presented in this paper. It is anticipated that this paper will provide one of the cornerstones for future studies in this area. Originality/value: The paper makes an original contribution to the study of information behaviours, practices and epistemology.

Journal Article Type Article
Journal Journal of documentation
Print ISSN 0022-0418
Publisher Emerald
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Institution Citation BURNETT, S. and LLOYD, A. [2020]. Hidden and forbidden: conceptualising dark knowledge. Journal of documentation [online], Early Cite. Available from:
Keywords Knowledge; Morality; Ethics; Epistemology; Refugees


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