Consultation, Consent, and the Silencing of Indigenous Communities

Journal of Applied Philosophy 37 (5):781-798 (2020)
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Over the past few decades, Indigenous communities have successfully campaigned for greater inclusion in decision-making processes that directly affect their lands and livelihoods. As a result, two important participatory rights for Indigenous peoples have now been widely recognized: the right to consultation and the right to free, prior and informed consent (FPIC). Although these participatory rights are meant to empower the speech of these communities—to give them a proper say in the decisions that most affect them—we argue that the way these rights have been implemented and interpreted sometimes has the opposite effect, of denying them a say or ‘silencing’ them. In support of this conclusion we draw on feminist speech act theory to identify practices of locutionary, illocutionary, and perlocutionary group silencing that arise in the context of consultation with Indigenous communities.

Author Profiles

Dina Lupin Townsend
University of Vienna
Leo Townsend
University of Reading


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