Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 156, Issue 1, pp 89–104 | Cite as

Epistemic Healing: A Critical Ethical Response to Epistemic Violence in Business Ethics

  • Farzad Rafi KhanEmail author
  • Rabia Naguib
Original Paper


We argue that there is a neo-colonial knowledge regime operating in business ethics. This knowledge regime engages in systematic epistemic violence of exclusion and distortion against indigenous alternative knowledge formations from the Global South. Thus, the question posed for the business ethics field from a critical perspective is how to ethically respond and challenge this situation of power and domination. We propose the idea of epistemic healing as an ethical critical response for reversing epistemic violence in business ethics. Epistemic healing requires identifying and then calling back to the center of discussion in business ethics knowledge traditions of the other that it has excluded and made peripheral. We illustrate this principle of epistemic healing in the context of Islamic business ethics given that it contains epistemic violence against Islam, particularly Sufism, an important knowledge tradition of the Muslim other from the Global South. Breaking silence on the neocolonial knowledge regime operating in the construction of business ethics, introducing the concept of epistemic healing, and illustrating the latter’s fecundity in advancing debate in business ethics while also helping reverse the field’s epistemic violence against alternative knowledge commitments and resources of the other from the Global South are the important contributions of this paper.


Critical business ethics Critical studies Giving Islam Orientalism Postcolonial theory Sufism 




There was no funding for this study.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

Farzad Rafi Khan and Rabia Naguib declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Management and Marketing, College of Industrial ManagementKing Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM)DhahranKingdom of Saudi Arabia
  2. 2.School of Public Administration and Development Economics (SPADE)Doha Institute for Graduate StudiesDohaQatar

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