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The power of pragmatismKnowledge production and social inquiry$
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Jane Wills and Robert Lake

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781526134943

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.7765/9781526134950

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PRINTED FROM MANCHESTER SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.manchester.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Manchester University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MSO for personal use.date: 28 September 2021

Embodied ignorances: A pragmatist responds to epistemic and other kinds of frictions in the academy

Embodied ignorances: A pragmatist responds to epistemic and other kinds of frictions in the academy

Chapter:
(p.119) 6 Embodied ignorances: A pragmatist responds to epistemic and other kinds of frictions in the academy
Source:
The power of pragmatism
Author(s):

Susan Saegert

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7765/9781526134950.00014

This chapter draws on writings by race theorists and pragmatists to inquire into the internal politics of our academic communities. The argument is built around the epistemic injustice articulated by students of colour in my own doctoral programme. The chapter starts with this situation and develops the concept of ‘embodied ignorance’ and its embeddedness in positions of power in order to explain such epistemological injustice and find ways to overcome it. Embodied ignorance arises at the individual level from the limits and particularity of being just one person in space and time and it arises at the social level from the mobilisation of categories of bodies that mark some as more authoritatively, legally and normatively entitled and powerful than others. Greater epistemological justice within the academy cannot easily remedy practical harms, requiring, instead, engagement with the broader society. The chapter examines the history and current practice of affirmative action to better understand the political and economic dimensions of academic exclusion/inclusion. It then turns to pragmatist thought to understand how to go beyond the current limitations imposed on racial and other forms of inclusion in the creation of new knowledge aimed at more democratic ways of knowing and living.

Keywords:   epistemic friction, epistemic (in)justice, race, embodied ignorance, democracy, pragmatism

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