September 21, 2023

CRITIQUE-PTRG Seminar: Responding to Riots: Epistemic Injustice and Recent Anti-Police Uprisings – 11 October 2023, 3pm

In this pre-read seminar, Prof. Jonathan Havercroft (Southampton-IASH Visiting Fellow) will discuss his paper ‘Responding to Riots: Epistemic Injustice and Recent Anti-Police Uprisings’.
Abstract: In response to major episodes of anti-police violence riots in the U.S. and the U.K. political theorists have paid increasing attention to the normative implications of political rioting. Most of this literature has either claimed that some riots might correct democratic imbalances or that riots might be justified in cases of extreme social injustice. This analysis of rioting tends to focus on the motivations to riot and the consequences of rioting. Missing in this analysis is an account of the public’s responsibility towards rioting. To address this gap, this article argues for a shift in perspective from questions around the justice of rioting to questions about the epistemic injustices that enable rioting to occur. By making this shift in focus, we can see that the culpability for some riots can fall upon a public that engages in three kinds of epistemic injustice: testimonial injustice, hermeneutic injustice, and motivated ignorance. Drawing upon recent insights on epistemic injustice from feminist philosophy and the philosophy of race, this article analyses two recent anti-police violence riots in London 2011 and Minneapolis in 2020. While the causes of the riots and the actions of the protestors were similar, the two events had dramatically different responses by the public. Through an analysis of government documents, speeches, and first-hand accounts of these two events the article demonstrates how epistemic injustices both enable rioting and shape the public response to riots
This seminar is being held jointly by CRITIQUE and the Political Theory Research Group. It will take place between 3pm-4:30pm on Wednesday 11th October in Chrystal Macmillan Building room 3.15.


Please note that this a pre-read seminar. To get a copy of the paper to be discussed, contact the PTRG convenor, Tom O’Shea (