Epistemic Injustice and Epistemic Redlining

Ethics and Social Welfare 11 (2):177-190 (2017)
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The practice of Emergency Management in Michigan raises anew the question of whose knowledge matters to whom and for what reasons, against the background of what projects, challenges, and systemic imperatives. In this paper, I offer a historical overview of state intervention laws across the United States, focusing specifically on Michigan’s Emergency Manager laws. I draw on recent analyses of these laws to develop an account of a phenomenon that I call epistemic redlining, which, I suggest, is a form of group-based credibility discounting not readily countenanced by existing, ‘culprit-based’ accounts of epistemic injustice. I argue that epistemic redlining plays a crucial role in ongoing projects of racialized subordination and dispossession in Michigan, and that such discounting tends to have structural causes that can be difficult to identify and uproot. Contrary to the general thrust of recent work on the topic, I argue that epistemic redlining ought to be understood as a form of epistemic injustice.

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Michael Doan
Oakland University