Reader query: discussion styles

Query from a reader (lightly edited):

I am interested in the fact that in patriarchal societies certain ways of communicating/arguing are deemed inferior. Obvious displays of emotion, hedging and asking questions as an oblique way of making a point are all thought to be undesirable and unhelpful, for example.
I know there is a lot of discussion among activist communities of ‘tone policing’, but I wondered if there are any explicitly philosophical texts identifying or analysing this problem. I am already very familiar with Miranda Fricker’s work, but wondered if there are any other resources you could point me to? (They definitely do not have to be related to gendered communicative styles specifically.)

Do leave suggestions in comments!

7 thoughts on “Reader query: discussion styles

  1. There’s some discussion of this sort of thing in Iris Marion Young’s “Justice and the Politics of Difference” – the ways that “acceptable forms of discourse” are modelled on the ways that educated white westerners are trained to behave, and people from other backgrounds may not be. I don’t have the book to hand, but I’m sure Young will have included references to more detailed discussion.

  2. I think Lorraine Code’s ‘Rhetorical Spaces’ (1995) and ‘What Can She Know?’ (1991) would be excellent resources on this topic for you. I have used them in my work on women’s ways of communicating in the public realm and the response they receive in patriarchal systems.

  3. I can completely recommend “The Epistemology of Resistance: Gender and Racial Oppression, Epistemic Injustice, and Resistant Imaginations”, Jose Medina. Oxford University Press 2013

  4. Alison Jagger’s 1989 Love and Knowledge: Emotion in Feminist Epistemology in Ann Garry and Marilyn Pearsall. Women, Knowledge and Reality might be of interest.

  5. To Reader’s Query: Cate Hundleby and I co-edited a special issue of Informal Logic (vol 30, no 3, 2010) titled “Reasoning for Change” that deals with some of the issues you address about discussion and argumentation styles. This journal is open access. Also my paper “When Philosophical Argumentation Impedes Social and Political Progress” (Journal of Social Philosophy, 43(3), Fall 2012) may be of interest. It addresses concerns about epistemic injustice (politics of credibility) that are likely to be exacerbated with some forms of adversarial argumentation–and this does not just apply to gender. Hope this helps. Feel free to contact me offline. – Phyllis Rooney / rooney@oakland.edu

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