Exploring epistemic justice in educational research

Maria Balarin, Mohan Paudel, Paola Sarmiento, Ganesh Bahadur Singh, Rachel Wilder

Research output: Working paper / PreprintDiscussion paper


The notion of epistemic justice helps interrogate existing practices of knowledge production, interpretation and use, leading to questions about “who” generates knowledge in society and how certain perspectives and forms of knowledge might be negated and marginalized as a part of a broader power structure. While knowledge is ‘the essence of education’ (Kotzee, 2017:348), debates around educational justice have tended to focus more on questions of redistribution (of access, resources, etc.) and recognition (of identities, cultures, etc.), than on the dimension of justice that is specifically related to knowledge, how it is accessed, distributed and produced within school settings. The notion of epistemic justice, which helps us consider such matters, has entered philosophical and educational debates somewhat more recently than other forms of justice. There is, therefore, a way to go in defining both what it means and how it can translate into school settings. We begin by proposing a positive definition of epistemic justice – in contrast to negative ones which define it by reference to forms of epistemic injustice; to then situate epistemic justice within broader epistemological and philosophical debates. We then develop a series of ideas in relation to how various instances of epistemic (in)justice can be found in educational settings. We explore both systemic and institutional educational dimensions, as well as the ways in which the curriculum, school materials, language use and pedagogies can be spaces in which educational (in)justice can play out.
The paper concludes with a discussion of epistemic (in)justice in the context of Peru, Uganda and Nepal, the three countries in which the JustEd project is based.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 12 Sept 2021


  • education
  • epistemic justice


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