Miranda Fricker, Birkbeck College, University of London Epistemic Injustice Power and the Ethics of Knowing Miranda Fricker Clarendon Press Reviews and Awards "an exciting examination of a widespread problem that is rarely discussed in such terms so that it can be understood and communicated, and perhaps, someday, solved" - Feminist Review "An original and stimulating contribution to contemporary epistemology It is clear, well-written and well-structured. The explanations and arguments are rigorous without being overly technical, and the illustrations are interesting and felicitous. In particular, the book constitutes a striking example of how contemporary epistemology can be enriched by a close attention to our experiences, and of how our understanding of epistemic matters can be deepened through the deployment of ideas from ethics, plitical theory and feminist philosophy.
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Tags: 8. New York: Oxford University Press. August ISBN: Phone: Email: smoore3 usfca. McCarthy Center for Public Service and the Common Good at the University of San Francisco have been working with a few long-time community partners to update our professional development curriculum. As we moved through the program design process, we were committed to integrating community voices into this fellowship, but we struggled to find publications that emanated purely from community expertise.
In fact, we could only find one peer-reviewed article authored by a community partner Reyes, Is it truly the case that so few resources reflect the perspectives of those community-based wisdom-holders meant to be collaborators in the work of community-engaged learning? Knowing that peer-reviewed journals were designed as competitive outlets for scholars to share their knowledge in a rigidly defined written format, we asked: What other resources might be more accessible for community partner voices to permeate the field of community engagement?
At the McCarthy Center, our strategy for including community partner voices has involved inviting and compensating partners as guest lecturers, panelists, committee members, and contributors to outreach and orientation media.
However, while we have found a way to invite these voices into our institution, it seems that the broader field still fails to honor the reciprocal exchange of knowledge needed to create new knowledge with community partners. This particular gap in the community engagement literature highlights myriad questions that I have wrestled with in my 14 years as a community engagement professional, and I know many others are asking and attempting to answer similar questions.
Indeed, I believe it is our responsibility as community engagement scholars and practitioners to explore such questions as: If we look to the literature on community engagement, whose voices shape the field, and whose voices are missing or on the margin?
How is knowledge actually exchanged across campus-community boundaries, and how is that knowledge used and valued? To what extent are community partners positioned as co-educators of students and collaborators in scholarship and research? How are faculty recognized and rewarded for teaching and scholarship that emanate from a commitment to creating community change? I have had the privilege of working with colleagues from institutions across the United States and with our community partners to apply and adapt this framework in professional development venues and in the literature.
Indeed, I see this book review as one more opportunity to enliven and extend critical conversations about higher education community engagement. Higher education originated as a bastion for the production and dissemination of elite knowledge for the primary benefit of wealthy White men.
These statistics indicate a lack of diversity in the epistemological content of higher education texts, even as faculty and student demographics have become more diverse. To be fair, this problem pervades most academic disciplines. Scholars have argued that underrepresentation of women and people of color in top-tier publications is due to myriad factors, including implicit bias and stereotype threat Saul, Implicit bias shapes how scholars and editors select publications to be featured, and stereotype threat prevents people from underrepresented groups from pursuing particular career paths and practices that are not traditionally seen as inclusive.
The previous publication and citation statistics illustrate that identity-based bias blocks collective access to valuable knowledge because certain groups of people are left out of the academic conversation. However, given that the central mission of academia is to produce and disseminate knowledge, scholars and practitioners have an obligation to take issues of epistemic exclusion seriously and seek proactive approaches to ensuring equity and inclusion of diverse forms of knowledge.
How does one attend to the epistemic and ethical harms that have been baked into higher education since its inception? From this starting point, Fricker diagnoses how identity-based power and prejudice harm individuals in their capacities as knowers, and keep them from accessing essential truths about human experience. Drawing upon the work of critical social theorists, philosophers, and scholars, including Iris Marion Young , Fricker posits that epistemic injustice is one facet of the status quo of identity-based domination and highlights many examples of how it plays out in casual social situations as well as high-stakes contexts like courtrooms and classrooms.
In essence, epistemic injustice manifests as the exclusion of people with marginalized identities from 1 being heard and understood by others in interpersonal communications i.
Fricker introduces testimonial injustice in the first chapter of Epistemic Injustice: Power and the Ethics of Knowing and elaborates on the nature and manifestations of the concept in Chapters 2 and 6. The result is a dysfunction in knowledge dissemination that leads simultaneously to three types of harm.
Practical harm results from dysfunctional knowledge transmission that shapes actions and events to exclude, censure, or dismiss the knower. In the context of a service-learning course, practical harm might manifest in the experiences of low-income students who must prioritize paid work over service activities connected to their course in order to maintain financial stability.
When the student approaches their instructor to express concern about schedule conflicts and articulate the need to maximize paid work hours, the instructor may dismiss these concerns as the student not having their priorities straight or as if they are trying to get out of course assignments. While this may happen in interpersonal interactions within discreet service-learning classrooms, scholars have also pointed to this as a systemic issue related to service-learning not being designed to include and accommodate low-income students Butin, ; Cruz, ; Mitchell, , thereby exemplifying hermeneutical injustice.
Fricker describes hermeneutical injustice in the culminating chapter of the book Chapter 7. Whereas testimonial injustice plays out at the interpersonal level, hermeneutical injustice occurs at the systemic level through identity-based marginalization, keeping whole groups of knowers from participating in shaping social understandings of the human experience.
Fricker uses the example of how women were historically confined to their households, limited to discussing what was deemed polite or appropriate and labeled as non-rational, emotionally-driven beings in an effort to prevent them from generating a collective understanding of their experiences of gender-based oppression and acting against it.
Experiences of post-partum depression or domestic violence were common and consequential, but they were not identified or addressed until somewhat recently in human history because of systems and structures excluding women as valid knowledge producers and disseminators. Similar to the impacts of testimonial injustice, the harms of hermeneutical injustice have implications for emotional and psychological well-being, but also for social and economic status.
Because of the systemic nature of hermeneutical injustice, the harms impact entire identity-based groups. Extrapolating this phenomenon to the experiences of faculty in higher education highlights how community-engaged scholarship continues to be marginalized in high-stakes tenure and promotion review processes.
These scholars have professional commitments, engage in pedagogical practices, and disseminate scholarly products that emanate from engagement with community e. Their scholarly work is grounded in transdisciplinary conceptions of knowledge i. This orientation to knowledge and scholarship leaves them occupying the margins of what is traditionally accepted in terms of teaching, research, and service.
Thus, there is a high likelihood that their faculty peers who do not do community-engaged teaching and research may misunderstand, distrust, or devalue the work products and narratives they present in their dossiers. It is common for community-engaged scholarship to be deemed less rigorous and less valuable than traditional positivist approaches, which prioritize pure research methodologies and the discovery of new knowledge Eatman et al.
One reason for the persistence of this problem is the gap in knowledge about how to properly define and assess high-quality community-engaged scholarship. Though guidelines and standards exist Jordan et al. Fricker also illuminates examples of what is possible when typically marginalized knowers are heard and understood by those in power.
In Chapters 3 and 4, she places the onus on individuals to cultivate a practice of reflection and analysis when taking on the role of knowledge-receivers, such that they can intentionally subvert their prejudicial tendencies from impeding epistemic and ethical connections to knowledge-givers. Doing this facilitates testimonial justice, which occurs when knowledge is communicated interpersonally, unfettered by identity-based bias, in a way that affirms the credibility and by extension the humanity of the knower and builds the understanding of the knowledge-receiver.
In Chapter 5, Fricker discusses the genealogy of testimonial injustice, referencing foundational philosophical theories and concepts to situate her framework in the broader field. She also highlights virtues of truth, accuracy, and sincerity as necessary for humans to be able to overcome identity-based prejudice in order to effectively pool knowledge necessary for human survival.
As an antidote to hermeneutic injustice, Fricker, at the end of Chapter 7, provides only a brushstroke of her vision of hermeneutical justice. Writ large, hermeneutical justice occurs when society holds space for and values diverse ways of making sense of the human experience. Considering the frequency and scale of interpersonal knowledge exchange in society, Epistemic Injustice has significant ramifications for transforming identity-based oppression.
Fricker offers a coherent theory for a very particular, but common, human experience of identity-based injustice and a useful prescription for correcting it. Indeed, she references a number of scholars in other fields who have offered theoretical frameworks for exposing and interrogating unjust actions and systems. In making the case that exchanges of knowledge are fundamental to what it means to be human and to be part of society, and then connecting the inhibition of knowledge exchange to intellectual, ethical, and practical harms, Fricker makes a strong argument for why all people should care about and bear responsibility for creating a more epistemically just world.
As someone who does not have a scholarly background in philosophy but who is immersed in the culture of academia, I found this book to be compelling and accessible. Fricker offers clear and well-reasoned definitions of complex concepts and illustrates them with multiple practical examples. Further, she explicitly renders the relationships between the theoretical components of her argument into a comprehensive framework. How can we design courses that benefit from the diversity of epistemic traditions?
How can we provide faculty development opportunities that build capacity to enact epistemic justice in teaching, advising, research, and service? What skills and information do students need to prepare to engage ethically across epistemic differences in the higher education context and beyond? To what extent are the voices of diverse staff, faculty, and students able to guide institutional agendas and priorities? What institutional values and virtues are likely to foster epistemic justice in how policies and practices are designed and implemented?
Zeroing in on the practice of community engagement in higher education, implementation of an epistemically just framework becomes even more imperative because of the relational nature of the work both at the interpersonal and institutional levels and its focus on employing knowledge to address contemporary social and environmental problems.
If we as community-engaged scholars and practitioners believe that the condition of epistemic injustice is the status quo, as Fricker asserts, then it follows that we are likely to cause harm by conducting business as usual. Under the rubric of community engagement, pedagogical frames are rooted in a desire to democratize the exchange of knowledge in and out of the classroom, and research methodologies are participatory, oriented toward addressing community-identified problems.
Given this, our call to action as community-engaged scholars and practitioners is to strive for greater alignment between the aspirational vision for community engagement and practice. What changes are needed for community engagement processes, practices, and policies to reflect equitable participation of diverse constituencies? How can the outcomes of this work achieve epistemic justice by perpetuating more nuanced understandings of both universal and unique aspects of the human condition?
What commitment can we make to demonstrate humility, intellectual curiosity, and empathy in our daily interactions? In which situations might we abdicate our roles as experts when working with community in order to amplify voices of expertise and wisdom not traditionally legitimized in academia? How might we create space for students to grapple with their own limitations and aspirations as they navigate community-engaged experiences?
How do we infuse the virtue of epistemic justice into the culture of our community-engaged departments and centers? References Bacon, N. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 9 1 , 34— Blouin, D. Whom does service learning really serve? Teaching Sociology, 37 2 , — The limits of service-learning in higher education. The Review of Higher Education, 29 4 , — Craig, E. Knowledge and the state of nature: An essay in conceptual synthesis. Oxford, UK: Clarendon Press.
Cronley, C. Making service-learning partnerships work: Listening and responding to community partners. Journal of Community Practice, 23 2 , — Cruz, N. Principles of good practice in combining service and learning: A diversity perspective. Paul, MN: Author. Eatman, T. Co-constructing knowledge spheres in the academy: Developing frameworks and tools for advancing publicly engaged scholarship.
Urban Education, 53 4 , —
Start your review of Epistemic Injustice: Power and the Ethics of Knowing Write a review Apr 01, Don rated it it was amazing In a recent survey of current trends or fads in academic philosophy, one of the top 5 was the evolving work in epistemic injustice. The genesis of this trend started in when Miranda Fricker, then a professor in the Philosophy Department at Birkbeck, University of London shook the philosophical world with this book. Centering on the ethics of knowledge, Fricker focuses on the ethical injustice done to any person in his or her capacity as a knower - particularly in two forms: testimonial In a recent survey of current trends or fads in academic philosophy, one of the top 5 was the evolving work in epistemic injustice. Centering on the ethics of knowledge, Fricker focuses on the ethical injustice done to any person in his or her capacity as a knower - particularly in two forms: testimonial injustice and hermeneutical injustice. But, what do these mean exactly? Imagine you are listening to the testimony of an individual. Now imagine the same testimony from different individuals based on their age, sex, social status, race, command of the language, sexual preference, etc.
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Tags: 8. New York: Oxford University Press. August ISBN: Phone: Email: smoore3 usfca.
Epistemic injustice - one of the most important and ground-breaking subjects to have emerged in philosophy in recent years - refers to those forms of unfair treatment that relate to issues of knowledge, understanding, and participation in communicative practices. The Routledge Handbook of Epistemic Injustice is an outstanding reference source to the key topics, problems and debates in this exciting subject. The first collection of its kind, it comprises over thirty chapters by a team of international contributors, divided into five parts: Core Concepts Liberatory Epistemologies and Axes of Oppression Schools of Thought and Subfields within Epistemology Socio-political, Ethical, and Psychological Dimensions of Knowing Case Studies of Epistemic Injustice. As well as fundamental topics such as testimonial and hermeneutic injustice and epistemic trust, the Handbook includes chapters on important issues such as social and virtue epistemology, objectivity and objectification, implicit bias, and gender and race. Also included are chapters on areas in applied ethics and philosophy, such as law, education, and healthcare. The Routledge Handbook of Epistemic Injustice is essential reading for students and researchers in ethics, epistemology, political philosophy, feminist theory, and philosophy of race. It will also be very useful for those in related fields, such as cultural studies, sociology, education and law.
Epistemic Injustice: Power and the Ethics of Knowing
Epistemic Injustice: Power and the Ethics of Knowing Miranda Fricker Abstract Justice is one of the oldest and most central themes of philosophy, but sometimes we would do well to focus instead on injustice. In epistemology, the very idea that there is a first-order ethical dimension to our epistemic practices — the idea that there is such a thing as epistemic justice — remains obscure until we adjust the philosophical lens so that we see through to the negative space that is epistemic injustice. This book argues that there is a distinctively epistemic genus of injustice, in which someone is wronged specifically in their capacity as a knower, wronged therefore in a capa More Justice is one of the oldest and most central themes of philosophy, but sometimes we would do well to focus instead on injustice.