The Epistemology of Resistance Gender and Racial Oppression, Epistemic Injustice, and Resistant Imaginations

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2012-11-19
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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This book explores the epistemic side of oppression, focusing on racial and sexual oppression and their interconnections. It elucidates how social insensitivities and imposed silences prevent members of different groups from interacting epistemically in fruitful ways-from listening to each other, learning from each other, and mutually enriching each other's perspectives. Medina's epistemology of resistance offers a contextualist theory of our complicity with epistemic injustices and a social connection model of shared responsibility for improving epistemic conditions of participation in social practices. Through the articulation of a new interactionism and polyphonic contextualism, the book develops a sustained argument about the role of the imagination in mediating social perceptions and interactions. It concludes that only through the cultivation of practices of resistance can we develop a social imagination that can help us become sensitive to the suffering of excluded and stigmatized subjects. Drawing on Feminist Standpoint Theory and Critical Race Theory, this book makes contributions to social epistemology and to recent discussions of testimonial and hermeneutical injustice, epistemic responsibility, counter-performativity, and solidarity in the fight against racism and sexism.

Author Biography

Josť Medina is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University. He works primarily in Gender & Race Theory, Philosophy of Language, and Social Epistemology. His writings on language and identity have focused on gender, sexuality, race, and ethnicity. Medina's books include Speaking from Elsewhere (SUNY Press, 2006) and Language (Continuum, 2005).

Table of Contents

Foreword: Insensitivity and Blindness
Introduction. Resistance, Democratic Sensibilities, and the Cultivation of Perplexity
The Importance of Dissent and the Imperative of Epistemic Interaction
Resistance, Perplexity, and Multiperspectivalism
Active Ignorance, Epistemic Others, and Epistemic Friction
Active Ignorance and the Epistemic Vices of the Privileged
Lucidity and the Epistemic Virtues of the Oppressed
Resistance, Epistemic Responsibility, and the Regulative Principles of Epistemic Friction
Resistance as Epistemic Vice and as Epistemic Virtue
The Excess of Epistemic Authority and the Resulting Insensitivity
Epistemic Justice as Interactive, Comparative and Contrastive
Differential Authority, Systematic Injustice, and the Social Imaginary
The Vice of Avoiding Epistemic Friction, Hermeneuticalal Injustice, and the Problem of Meta-Blindness
Striving for Open-Mindedness: Epistemic Friction and Epistemic Counterpoints as Correctives of Meta-Blindness
Imposed Silences and Shared Hermeneutical Responsibilities
Silences and the Communicative Approach to Epistemic Injustice
Communicative Pluralism and Hermeneutical Injustice
Our Hermeneutical Responsibilities with respect to Multiple Publics
Epistemic Responsibility and Culpable Ignorance
Responsible Agency, Knowledge/Ignorance, and Social Injustice
Betraying One's Responsibilities under Conditions of Oppression: Social Contextuality, Interconnectedness, and Culpable Ignorance
Pig Heads, Burning Crosses, and Car keys
The Social Division of Cognitive Laziness
Blindness to Differences
Blindness to Social Relationality and the Relevance Dilemma
Overlapping Insensitivities, Culture-Blaming, and Gender Violence against Third-World Women
Meta-Lucidity, Epistemic Heroes, and the Everyday Struggle Toward Epistemic Justice
Living Up to One's Responsibilities under Conditions of Oppression: Meta-Lucidity
Promoting Lucidity and Social Change
Echoing: Chained Action, "Epistemic Heroes", and Social Networks
Sor Juana In.s de la Cruz: Epistemic Courage, Critical Imagination and Epistemic Friction
Rosa Parks: Counter-Performativity, Chained Agency, and Social Networks
Resistant Imagination and Radical Solidarity
Pluralistic Communities of Resistence
Normative Pluralism and Radical Solidarity
Epistemic Friction and Insurrectionary Genealogies
Guerrilla Pluralism, Counter-Memories, and Epistemologies of Ignorance
Resistant Imaginations: Toward a Kaleidoscopic Social Sensibility
Conclusion: Network Solidarity
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