Tracing Epistemic Violence Across Scholarly Expertise
This article introduces a critical view on terrorism research and its knowledge about suicide terrorism. The analysis combines a feminist-postcolonial perspective with a sociology of knowledge approach, including discourse and dispositive analysis. It draws attention to the limitations of hegemonic knowledge production and to an Occidentalist self-assertion as its by-product. What we know about suicide terrorism and how we generate this knowledge, I argue by presenting a comprehensive study of analyses of scholarly publications on suicide bombing from the 1990s to 2006, is embedded in globally asymmetric power arrangements. I establish a link between the various forms of political violence that are present in scholarly expertise on suicide terrorism and the epistemic violence that is inherent in this field of knowledge production. By introducing the concept of epistemic violence, this text contributes to a more complex understanding of our fields of research, their objects of analysis, and the entanglements between these two dimensions, of which we are inevitably complicitous as scholars. First, the transdisciplinary research perspective is introduced in order to move away the focus from political violence (suicide bombing) and turn it on epistemic violence (knowledge production about it). Second, I present the results of the research project that this article summarizes.
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