What if the earth is round? Concerns about cultural consequences
in Knowledge resistance
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This chapter shows an influential factor in making sense of concrete cases of knowledge resistance: people’s concerns about what would happen in culture and politics if they didn’t resist a particular knowledge claim. The chapter uses the example of knowledge about biological evolution to illustrate three ways that people interpret such knowledge. The first is that society should imitate evolution, with its competition and pressures, particularly on weaker individuals, as a model for society and politics. Social Darwinism contends this view. The second is to resist knowledge claims that biological evolution interacts with culture in shaping, for instance, male control and violence on women. Parts of the social sciences and cultural studies imply this view. The third is that we should recognise and learn about human evolution to better combat its cultural expressions where we acknowledge their harm. Men’s frequent attempts at controlling and exerting violence on women are examples of this. Although this chapter endorses the third view, the chapter concludes with a self-critical discussion about the challenges that remain in choosing between whether to resist or combat knowledge that we know will make groups apply the knowledge in a harmful way.

Knowledge resistance

How we avoid insight from others


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