Epistemic Violence. A Challenge for IR-Related Research
Post- and decolonial scholars agree that the discipline of IR and related fields such as Peace Studies, Development Studies or Area Studies are to the present imperial world order what Ethnology and Philologies of Non-European languages were to the period of colonialism. One of the key topics of these perspectives is the deeply asymmetric entanglement of power and knowledge, including its effects on how we organise and analyse international and domestic politics. While the term epistemic violence is common sense in these debates, it has hardly had any resonance in IR so far.
Given the embeddedness of the discipline and its predecessors in the sustaining colonial condition, this comes as no surprise. The proposed paper will introduce conceptualisations of epistemic violence from a variety of non-IR backgrounds and frame the term with decolonial concepts on the ongoing coloniality of power/knowledge/being and its constitutive epistemic racism/sexism. By understanding what epistemic violence is all about, we will have to substantially scrutinise norms, standards and practices of IR and start do decolonize it, as many scholars demand. The argument will be illustrated by examples drawn from previous research in the field of Critical Terrorism Studies.
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