Epistemic security and the redemptive hegemony of magical realism

November 7, 2023

In her recently published article Xymena Kurowska draws on theories of ritual to develop the concept of epistemic security as a form of ontological security-seeking through practices of knowledge production.




Abstract /

This article develops the concept of epistemic security as a form of ontological security. Epistemic security denotes a sense of redemptive hegemony that derives from participation in ritualised schemes of epistemic authority. Such schemes are strategically identified and cultivated by experts turned guardian experts who ritualise knowledge production to generate collective empowerment. Epistemic security troubles the notion of modern expertise and reflexive agency in ontological security studies. Guardian experts embed knowledge formation in tradition rather than methodological scepticism and disavow epistemic violence of their interpretative frameworks. I develop the argument in engagement with ‘magical realism’—a ritualised script of the realist International Relations theory in the pro-regime Russian academic discourse. Through ritual mastery, the guardian experts of magical realism perform ‘magic slippage’ from scientific to sacred frames to render Russia’s war on Ukraine hegemonically redemptive, as a scientifically derived, historically preordained, and politically prudent act of a great power.

Xymena Kurowska (2023) Epistemic security and the redemptive hegemony of magical realism, Cambridge Review of International Affairs, DOI: 10.1080/09557571.2023.2276343

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