Using Art to Resist Epistemic Injustice

The Aesthetics of the Oppressed and Democratic Freedom

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This article argues that the aesthetics of the oppressed—a series of artistic practices elaborated by Augusto Boal that comprises the theatre of the oppressed, the rainbow of desire technique, and legislative theatre—utilizes art in order to resist epistemic injustice and promote democratic freedom. By constraining people’s ability to know and explore the potentialities of their bodies and desires, epistemic injustice perpetuates oppression and blocks the advent of democratic freedom. Whereas the theatre of the oppressed tackles corporal oppression, the rainbow of desire technique resists psychological oppression by encouraging the oppressed to critically examine their desires and self-knowledge. Finally, legislative theatre furthers democratic freedom by allowing citizens to protest against any epistemic injustice that might result from the enactment of laws made by representatives.

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The Multidisciplinary Journal of Social Protest

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