Accessibility Skip to Global Navigation Skip to Local Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map Menu

Epistemic injustice in healthcare

A postgraduate research opportunity at the University of Otago.


Academic background
Health Sciences, Humanities
Host campus
Master’s, PhD
Associate Professor Sara Filoche


Have you ever been a patient where you felt that a healthcare practitioner was merely talking at you, rather than with you? Or that your opinion (or values) didn’t count? If you are a healthcare practitioner, do you share information with your colleagues and patients equitably? Or have you ever been talked down to when seeking information? If you can recall such encounters, then you may have experienced an epistemic injustice – more specifically, informational prejudice.

Our work falls under the umbrella of Fricker’s notion that harm can be done to another person in their capacity as a knower. When someone is not perceived as having the capacity to understand information by another, this affects how, what, and if information is shared between them – in other words, they experience informational prejudice. We take the position that both practitioners and patients are vulnerable to epistemic injustice (and thus experience informational prejudice) owing to prevalent negative stereotypes and certain structural features of contemporary healthcare practice.

Information sharing is fundamentally a social phenomenon, so it is fitting that we apply sociological methodologies, which can better study how knowledge sharing is impacted by social relations and structures at work in the healthcare system. Such methods would explain how some people become knowledge brokers – and can hold onto information to maintain a “special” position; the phenomenon of knowledge brokers would also explain why only certain people may be offered particular treatments.

This is one of many research opportunities and can be tailored to the interests and aspirations of the candidate.


Associate Professor Sara Filoche