Interrupting epistemicide: A practical framework for naming, identifying, and ending epistemic injustice in the information professions

Beth Patin, Melinda Sebastian, Jieun Yeon, Danielle Bertolini, Alexandra Grimm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The information professions need a paradigmatic shift to address the epistemicide happening within our field and the ways we have systematically undermined knowledge systems falling outside of Western traditions. Epistemicide is the killing, silencing, annihilation, or devaluing of a knowledge system. We argue epistemicide happens when epistemic injustices are persistent and systematic and collectively work as a structured and systemic oppression of particular ways of knowing. We present epistemicide as a conceptual approach for understanding and analyzing ways knowledge systems are silenced or devalued within Information Science. We extend Fricker's framework by: (a) identifying new types of epistemic injustices, and (b) by adding to Fricker's concepts of Primary and Secondary Harm and introducing the concept of a Third Harm happening at an intergenerational level. Addressing epistemicide is critical for information professionals because we task ourselves with handling knowledge from every field. Acknowledgement of and taking steps to interrupt epistemic injustices and these specific harms are supportive of the social justice movements already happening. This paper serves as an interruption of epistemic injustice by presenting actions toward justice in the form of operationalized interventions of epistemicide.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of the Association for Information Science and Technology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Information Systems and Management
  • Library and Information Sciences

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