Is no-platforming a suitable strategy for preventing harmful expression from gaining uptake? According to its defenders, the removal of a platform from those who employ harmful speech delegitimises their views by preventing the continued enactment of oppressive norms and by undermining speaker authority. In contrast, this paper suggests that the central harm of platforming certain speakers comes not from the causal effects of what they might say on stage but from the constitutive harm of their invitation. In response, I suggest that no-platformers, rather than censoring the invited speaker, are themselves making a positive discursive contribution to the surrounding environment by engaging in a form of counterspeech. A careful consideration of the broader discursive dynamics at play is thus necessary when working out how best to deal with controversial speakers.
|Dr Suzanne Whitten