Epistemic (In)justice in the Construction of Climate Change Risks
: Māori Epistemology and the IPCC

  • Aluka Katz

Student thesis: Master's Thesis: Humanistic Studies


The IPCC can be seen as a global authority on climate change science. Their construction of the risks of climate change and ways of managing those risks influences both policy and research worldwide. I will argue that these constructions have a strong normative component. As a global institution, the IPCC contributes to the homogenisation of specific risk constructions worldwide, which is currently mostly informed by Western epistemology, but as such doesn’t do justice to the pluriform interpretations and interests related to climate change. I will argue that this leads to specific forms of epistemic injustice for Māori people, specifically in their capacity to relate to climate change risks based on mātauranga Māori as an Indigenous epistemology. While the IPCC currently plays an important role in the perpetuation of specific forms of epistemic injustice, they could contribute to epistemic justice by explicating how Western epistemology currently informs their constructions of climate change risk. This will allow people working with a different epistemological background, such as mātauranga Māori, to critically engage with their construction of climate change risks.
Date of Award27 Feb 2023
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorMelissa J. Sebrechts (Supervisor) & A. C. (Caroline) Suransky (Supervisor)


  • IPCC
  • Risk construction
  • Epistemic injustice
  • mātauranga Māori

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