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Democracy in a deluge: epistemic agency of marginalized voices in Oaxaca's storm governance

Bridel, Anna (2022) Democracy in a deluge: epistemic agency of marginalized voices in Oaxaca's storm governance. Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space. ISSN 2514-8486

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Identification Number: 10.1177/25148486221132219


Despite repeated calls for grassroots participation in climate policy making, the epistemic agency of marginalized voices remains little understood. While local knowledge is increasingly regarded as an antidote to top-down climate expertise, it is often not heard, or ends up reinforcing dominant framings of risk. The concept of civic epistemologies (CEs), often understood as the sociocultural norms by which societies authorize knowledge claims, can provide insights into the epistemic agency of marginalized actors in climate governance, but has rarely been applied to such concerns. At the same time, such questions affect how scholars conceptualize CEs, which have seldom been examined where civics are fragmented or marginalized. In this article, I argue that understanding CEs as “expectations of democracy” can indicate how they authorize climate expertise in such settings. I illustrate this argument by examining hurricane governance in Puerto Escondido, Mexico, where vulnerable fishers constitute a sociopolitically and economically excluded part of a fragmented civic that shapes the production of risk expertise. Here, fisher expectations that the government will behave corruptly, and government expectations that fishers prefer to remain socioeconomically separate from the state reify biophysical approaches to risk. This analysis contributes to understanding why many attempts to include marginalized voices in climate policy fail to achieve their anticipated outcomes, expanding understanding of how CEs mediate epistemic agency in contested political contexts. Furthermore, examining CEs as expectations of democracy can inform upon conditions under which political-epistemic orders change, revealing opportunities for intervention in climate risk governance.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2022 The Author
Divisions: International Development
Subjects: J Political Science > JC Political theory
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Date Deposited: 25 Nov 2022 10:54
Last Modified: 17 May 2024 06:39

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