Epistemic injustice in workplace hierarchies: Power, knowledge and status

Abstract

Contemporary workplaces are mostly hierarchical. Intrinsic and extrinsic bads of workplace hierarchies have been widely discussed in the literature on workplace democracy and workplace republicanism. However, a distinctively intrinsic relational bad, epistemic injustice in the workplace, has largely been neglected by both normative theorists of the workplace and theorists of epistemic injustice. This article, by bringing in the insights of Miranda Fricker’s influential conceptualization of epistemic injustice, argues that hierarchical workplaces have contributed to and reinforced both testimonial and hermeneutical injustices in a central activity of most people’s daily lives. This article argues that these injustices are moral wrongs and thus moral injury to the workers. The article concludes by demonstrating that traditional hierarchy is the most epistemically unjust form of hierarchy, while contestatory hierarchy, because of its emphasis on granting the right to the workers to be listened, is less unjust epistemically.

Publication
Philosophy & Social Criticism
Chi Kwok
Assistant Professor

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