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Reading: Political Epistemology and the Subject: Epistemic Injustice as a Primary Mode for Oppression

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Political Epistemology and the Subject: Epistemic Injustice as a Primary Mode for Oppression

Author:

Elliny Jade Hiebert

Eastern Washington University, US
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Abstract

In this paper I explore the notion of epistemic injustice in relation to privilege, marginalization, and oppression. I define epistemic injustice as anytime marginalized bodies are denied credibility based solely on their status as that Other. Conversely, epistemic privilege occurs whenever those in power are given credibility based solely on their elevated or authoritative status within society. It is my claim that epistemic injustice is not just a problem of knowing and that it reaches far beyond the scope of traditional epistemology and roots itself in both the social and political. It is, at a fundamental level, a tool used to control and oppresses already marginalized populations. I utilize the Puerto Rican Pill Trials that took place from 1952-1960 in order to expand upon the notion of epistemic injustice and the destruction of word-of-mouth testimony among groups of marginalized bodies. Along with this I assert that epistemic injustice has drastic consequences and is not just a problem of knowing. These consequences are two-fold. One, the denial of recognition from oneself and one’s peers, and two, the inability to engage in the introspective process of creating one’s subjecthood.

How to Cite: Hiebert, E.J., 2015. Political Epistemology and the Subject: Epistemic Injustice as a Primary Mode for Oppression. International Journal of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities, 7(2), pp.17 (129–135). DOI: http://doi.org/10.7710/2155-4838.1134
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Published on 29 May 2015.
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