Tuesday, April 25, 2017

"Epistemic Exploitation"

facepalm:
Epistemic exploitation occurs when privileged persons compel marginalized persons to educate them about the nature of their oppression. I argue that epistemic exploitation is marked by unrecognized, uncompensated, emotionally taxing, coerced epistemic labor. The coercive and exploitative aspects of the phenomenon are exemplified by the unpaid nature of the educational labor and its associated opportunity costs, the double bind that marginalized persons must navigate when faced with the demand to educate, and the need for additional labor created by the default skepticism of the privileged. I explore the connections between epistemic exploitation and the two varieties of epistemic injustice that Fricker (2007) identifies, testimonial and hermeneutical injustice. I situate epistemic exploitation within Dotson’s (2012; 2014) framework of epistemic oppression, and I address the role that epistemic exploitation plays in maintaining active ignorance and upholding dominant epistemic frameworks.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

So oppression exists because proving it exists would be an act of oppression?

Part of me wonders whether leftism is almost an alternate rationality that never grokked question begging. Seriously.

7:27 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Allegedly "unrecognized, uncompensated, emotionally taxing, coerced epistemic labor"...yet lefties just will *not* stop engaging in it...

Seriously...we don't want to *hear* your BS...so if you don't want to *say* your BS...it seems to me that there's a mutually agreeable solution at hand...

7:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

More seriously, though, the uncompensated thing seems to be a trend. It's just sophistic arguments for rent-seeking (I can't think a more obvious economic rent than getting someone to pay you to meet the burden of proof reason demands you bear), but I wouldn't be surprised if we see a big push in some way for it. Not necessarily in this way of course.

It all goes back to the confused social gospel doctrine of complicity in social sin, that was always poorly conceived and so too easily abused.

9:15 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Yeah, remember all those lists of "demands" that university students were issuing for awhile? Some of those included "demands" for compensation for their alleged work...

Martin Luther King: engage in civil disobedience, willingly go to jail for breaking the law, despite the justice of your cause.

Contemporary university students: pay me for my protest. In fact, pay me for talking.

9:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In many cases, Winston, the the students issuing the demands to be paid were already paid employees of this or that student "center". The demand to be paid for the "work" of social interaction is more a justification for using paid students as shills to make demands, after the fact. The use of student employees as cat's paws by the para-faculty is ubiquitous and infuriating. Think of all those cases where the university claims that they cannot comment on a "intrastudent dispute", when one of the student who brought the complaint is a graduate student employee of the very center investigating the dispute.

The other side of this is the sales pitch: for a complex and expensive lifestyle bureaucracy to be needed, the status quo must be intolerable. Minority students have to find the prospect of talking about their experiences with other students dreadful for campus to need an organized series of speakers to present a patterned (ok, baldly stereotyped) idea of minority student experience. The image of self-expression-as-grueling-labor reminds me of the grainy, black and white segment of the infomercial with a dismaying suburbanite covered in missqueezed toothpaste or the contents of an exploding jar...

What's not at all funny is the effect of this sales pitch on the students that are subject to it, most especially minority students. For the sake of maintaining support for the centers, undergraduates are being subjected to a kind of cognitive behavioural anti-therapy. Minority students are tought that: the majority will never accept you, their every interaction with you is laced with expressions of their animus, which we will train you to detect, the majority's material well-being, happiness, and very self-conception depends on your continuing degradation. Eighteen year olds are already primed to worry about how their peers think of them, and this sales pitch cranks up their anxiety as high as they can get it. Getting subjected to these notions of unpaid emotional labor, microagressions, and all the rest is making the students miserable and crazy. The misery will then be appealed to to demand more of the same anti-therapy. It's pretty damned sickening.

4:40 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Goddamn it, one-track Anonymous...

3:55 PM  

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