Resisting Structural Epistemic Injustice

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What form must a theory of epistemic injustice take in order to successfully illuminate the epistemic dimensions of struggles that are primarily political? How can such struggles be understood as involving collective struggles for epistemic recognition and self-determination that seek to improve practices of knowledge production and make lives more liveable? In this paper, I argue that currently dominant, Fricker-inspired approaches to theorizing epistemic wrongs and remedies make it difficult, if not impossible, to understand the epistemic dimensions of historic and ongoing political struggles. Recent work in the theory of recognition— particularly the work of critical, feminist, and decolonial theorists—can help to identify and correct the shortcomings of these approaches. I offer a critical appraisal of recent conversation concerning epistemic injustice, focusing on three characteristics of Frickerian frameworks that obscure the epistemic dimensions of political struggles. I propose that a theory of epistemic injustice can better illuminate the epistemic dimensions of such struggles by acknowledging and centering the agency of victims in abusive epistemic relations, by conceptualizing the harms and wrongs of epistemic injustice relationally, and by explaining epistemic injustice as rooted in the oppressive and dysfunctional epistemic norms undergirding actual communities and institutions.
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Archival date: 2018-12-18
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