Deconstruction and Epistemic Violence
【Abstract】 While theorists of epistemic injustice often refer to Gayatri Spivak’s “Can the Subaltern Speak” as an early articulation of the field’s concerns, they have stopped short of engaging deeply with Spivak’s deconstructive take on epistemic violence and her suggestion that this consists in an attribution of subjectivity to historically marginalized speakers. In redressing this oversight, this article makes a case for adopting a broader conception of epistemic harm and exclusion than has been acknowledged in the literature: I argue that the presumption that speakers are subjects can precipitate silencing. For in determining the other who speaks as a subject, one forecloses hospitality to an alterity not already understood according to the subject/object distinction central to Western metaphysics. This deconstructive intervention thus challenges one of the field’s key assumptions, namely, that epistemic harm consists in a failure to treat speakers as subjects, and consequently that generating a more inclusive dialogical climate depends on restoring marginalized individuals to subject status. Folding Spivak’s deconstructive insight into the remedial project of epistemic justice is therefore far from straightforward; nonetheless, I argue that it is consistent with the literature’s demand for a heightened sensitivity vis‐à‐vis the ways marginalized others are routinely harmed in epistemic practices.
【Author】 Carmen De Schryver
【Journal】 Southern Journal of Philosophy(IF：1) Time：2021-02-23