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Epistemic injustice and indigenous peoples in the inter-American human rights system

Epistemic injustice and indigenous peoples in the inter-American human rights system
Epistemic injustice and indigenous peoples in the inter-American human rights system
In this paper we examine the epistemic treatment of Indigenous peoples by the Inter-American Court and Commission on Human Rights, two institutions that have sought to affirm the rights of Indigenous peoples in the wake of colonialism and industrial encroachment onto Indigenous land. The Court and Commission have sought to do this in two ways. First, they have insisted on a right to consultation, according to which any Indigenous peoples who would be affected by industrial activity must be given a say in the decision-making process. Second, they have given an expansive interpretation of the right to property in order to encompass Indigenous relations to land. We argue that although the right to consultation and the expanded right to property have led to a number of landmark legal victories for Indigenous peoples, they nonetheless have an epistemic dark side in that they foster forms of epistemic injustice. What happens in the course of consultation often involves a kind of epistemic objectification of Indigenous testimony that amounts to radical testimonial injustice. And the requirement that Indigenous peoples frame their relation to land in the language of ‘property’ stifles their ability to articulate that relation, thus amounting to a hermeneutical injustice.
147 - 159
Townsend, Dina Lupin
526ee2bc-7f3d-4a01-9d21-358a8999e364
Townsend, Leo
237e8b4b-4cdd-4c54-af13-0ae93856d8a4
Townsend, Dina Lupin
526ee2bc-7f3d-4a01-9d21-358a8999e364
Townsend, Leo
237e8b4b-4cdd-4c54-af13-0ae93856d8a4

Townsend, Dina Lupin and Townsend, Leo (2021) Epistemic injustice and indigenous peoples in the inter-American human rights system. Social Epistemology, 147 - 159. (doi:10.1080/02691728.2020.1839809).

Record type: Article

Abstract

In this paper we examine the epistemic treatment of Indigenous peoples by the Inter-American Court and Commission on Human Rights, two institutions that have sought to affirm the rights of Indigenous peoples in the wake of colonialism and industrial encroachment onto Indigenous land. The Court and Commission have sought to do this in two ways. First, they have insisted on a right to consultation, according to which any Indigenous peoples who would be affected by industrial activity must be given a say in the decision-making process. Second, they have given an expansive interpretation of the right to property in order to encompass Indigenous relations to land. We argue that although the right to consultation and the expanded right to property have led to a number of landmark legal victories for Indigenous peoples, they nonetheless have an epistemic dark side in that they foster forms of epistemic injustice. What happens in the course of consultation often involves a kind of epistemic objectification of Indigenous testimony that amounts to radical testimonial injustice. And the requirement that Indigenous peoples frame their relation to land in the language of ‘property’ stifles their ability to articulate that relation, thus amounting to a hermeneutical injustice.

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02691728.2020 - Version of Record
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e-pub ahead of print date: 28 November 2020
Published date: 4 March 2021

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 455702
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/455702
PURE UUID: 015eee4d-5b53-40ad-8379-445f6ee2cfb4
ORCID for Dina Lupin Townsend: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-6531-8066

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Date deposited: 30 Mar 2022 17:06
Last modified: 28 Apr 2022 02:34

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Contributors

Author: Dina Lupin Townsend ORCID iD
Author: Leo Townsend

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