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Challenges of Epistemic Justice and Diversity in Science Communication in Mexico: Imperatives for Radical Re-positioning towards Transformative Contexts of Social Problem-Solving, Cultural Inclusion, and Trans-disciplinarity

From the book Race and Sociocultural Inclusion in Science Communication

  • Susana Herrera-Lima and Alba Sofía Gutiérrez-Ramírez


This chapter addresses the key challenges currently facing the practice of science communication in Mexico, situating them in three complementary dimensions: first, those of a historical order, the origins of which date back to the period of European colonialisation, which we analyse via the concept of ‘epistemic colonialism’,the origins of which date back to the period of European colonisation. The legacy of this epistemic colonialism is demonstrated in the prevalence of imported and institutionalised types of knowledge that systematically delegitimise forms of local knowledge, particularly those associated with Indigenous populations. The chapter introduces the concept of ‘coloniality’ and the ‘coloniality of knowledge’ to address the challenges along the proposeddimensions (Quijano, 1992, 2000a). The second dimension that frames the challenges of science communication in these contexts refers to structural factors, whereby institutional frameworks define valid, reproducible, and communicable knowledge that strengthens these exclusionary conditions and practices. This dislocation is translated, in the third dimension, into practices that focus on scientific knowledge as a deproblematised object of communication, creating what Miranda Fricker (2007) has called hermeneutical injustice, or a lack of access to interpretive resources on knowledge produced and established in foreign contexts. These practices systematically delegitimise and annul localised knowledge, which has other ways of thinking and other references, and thus constitute what Fricker calls testimonial injustice; in the extreme, such practices have even been referred to as a form of epistemic violence. The chapter outlines several recommendations to address these challenges in Mexico: first, radically re-positioning science communication by shifting the centre of its interests from the brokerage of scientific knowledge itself towards addressing complex social problems that demand collectively produced knowledge, dialogue, and political action from the social actors involved and directly affected by the problems in which they are immersed. Secondly, it recommends communication practices that question the deproblematised incorporation of scientific knowledge by fostering genuine dialogue among agents in order to understand and integrate their sociocultural contexts, perspectives, visions, and values.


epistemic injustice and epistemic violencecolonialitycultural inclusioncritical approachpublic engagement
© Bristol University Press 2023, excluding Chapter 12 © Tibisay Sankatsing Nava, Roxanne-Liana Francisca, Krista T. Oplaat, and Tadzio Bervoets
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