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Contesti del riconoscimento [Contexts of Recognition] Mimesis, Danielle Petherbridge ed. Jean-Philippe Deranty, Beyond Communication. Jean-Philippe Deranty, et al eds. Supporting material Add supporting material slides, programs, etc. Contacting: Valentinos Kontoyiannis Enter your message below. Your message has been sent.


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Report "" Provide reason for reporting this event:. Thank you for reporting this event. An administrator of the site will review it. It would be starving itself of the recognition it requires in order to be a determinate self-consciousness. This co-dependency results in mutual relations of recognition which are the condition for understanding oneself as a genuinely free being, albeit a free being which acknowledges, and thus adjusts itself, to the freedom of others.

Hegel characterises this mutuality, which cannot be coerced but be freely given and received, as being at home in the other. Such a relation with another is the condition for the phenomenological experience of freedom and right.

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We see now how the master-slave dialectic of recognition is inherently unstable and unsatisfying. The slave, realising that life as a slave is better than no life at all, accepts this relation of dominance and subservience. The recognition of the slave is ultimately worthless, for it is not the recognition of a free self-consciousness, which alone can grant the recognition on another required for self-certainty of existence and freedom. For Hegel, relations of domination provide a vicious spiral of recognition.

They lead nowhere but to their own destruction. Hence recognition must always take place between equals, mediated through social institutions which can guarantee that equality and thus produce the necessary mutual relations of recognition necessary for the attainment of freedom. It is precisely this last point that recent recognition theorists have seized upon and elaborated into comprehensive discussions of justice. However, it would be more accurate to say that Taylor awoke a general interest in the idea of recognition. His short essay provides a series of reflections and conjectures which, whilst insightful, do not constitute a full-blown theory of recognition.

However, its exploratory nature and non-technical language has helped install it as the common reference point for discussions of recognition. He identifies such a demand as present in the political activities of feminism, race movements and multiculturalists for a critical discussion of this point, see Nicholson, Our individual identity is not constructed from within and generated by each of us alone.

Rather, it is through dialogue with others that we negotiate our identity. The idea that our sense of who we are is determined through our interaction with others initiates a shift from a monologic to a dialogic model of the self. Deploying a brief historical narrative, Taylor argues that the collapse of social hierarchies, which had provided the basis for bestowing honour on certain individuals that is, those high up on the social ladder , led to the modern day notion of dignity, which rests upon universalist and egalitarian principles regarding the equal worth of all human beings.

This notion of dignity lies at the core of contemporary democratic ideals, unlike the notion of honour which is, he claims, clearly incompatible with democratic culture. However, he is quick to point out that the discovery of our authenticity is not simply a matter of introspection. Rather, it is through our interactions with others that we define who we are.

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Nor is there an end point to this dialogue. It continues throughout our entire lives and does not even depend upon the physical presence of a specific other for that person to influence us. Consider, for example, the way an imaginary conversation with a deceased partner might influence how we act or view ourselves. The importance of recognition lies precisely in the fact that how others see might us is a necessary step in forming an understanding of who we are. To be recognised negatively, or misrecognised, is to be thwarted in our desire for authenticity and self-esteem. He identifies two different ways in which the idea of equal recognition has been understood.

The first is a politics of equal dignity, or a politics of universalism, which aims at the equalisation of all rights and entitlements. In this instance, all individuals are to be treated as universally the same through recognition of their common citizenship or humanity. The second formulation is the politics of difference, in which the uniqueness of each individual or group is recognised. Rousseau bitterly noted that man, having shifted from a state of self-sufficiency and simplicity to one of competition and domination that characterises modern society, has come to crave the recognition of their difference Rousseau, For Rousseau, this desire for individual distinction, achievement and recognition conflicts with a principle of equal respect.

One consequence of this politics of difference is that certain rights will be assigned to specific groups but not others. The two approaches can be summed as follows.

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Taylor defends a politics of difference, arguing that the concept of equal dignity often if not always derives its idea of what rights and entitlement are worth having from the perspective of the hegemonic culture, thus enforcing minority groups to conform to the expectations of dominant culture and hence relinquish their particularity. Failure to conform will result in the minority culture being derided and ostracised by the dominant culture.

Woman exists as a lack; characterised through what she does not possess or exhibit namely, male and masculine traits. This point was strongly made by Fanon , who detailed how racism infiltrates the consciousness of the oppressed, preventing psychological health through the internalisation of subjection and otherness. Axel Honneth has produced arguably the most extensive discussion of recognition to date.

The Critical Theory of Axel Honneth

He is in agreement with Taylor that recognition is essential to self-realisation. However, he draws more explicitly on Hegelian intersubjectivity in order to identify the mechanics of how this is achieved, as well as establishing the motivational and normative role recognition can play in understanding and justifying social movements.

These are love, rights, and solidarity Honneth, 92ff; also Honneth , It provides a basic self-confidence, which can be shattered through physical abuse. All three spheres of recognition are crucial to developing a positive attitude towards oneself:. For it is only due to the cumulative acquisition of basic self-confidence, of self-respect, and of self-esteem According to Honneth, the denial of recognition provides the motivational and justificatory basis for social struggles.

Specifically, it is through the emotional experiences generated by certain attitudes and actions of others towards us that we can come to feel we are being illegitimately denied social recognition. Certain emotional states, such as shame, anger and frustration, are generated by the failure of our actions. Conversely, more positive emotional states are generated through successful action. The experience of negative emotional states can, in theory, reveal to us that an injustice is taking place namely, that we are not being given due and appropriate recognition.

However, as Honneth points out, feelings of shame or anger need not indeed, do not necessarily disclose relations of disrespect ibid: What they provide is the potential for identifying the occurrence of an injustice which one is justified in opposing. The experience of disrespect is the raw material from which normatively justified social struggles can be formulated. Presumably, disrespect in other contexts would lead to individual acts of retaliation or undirected violence, rather than coordinated resistance.

This phenomenological approach to recognition thus locates the source and justification of social struggles in the experiences and expectations of recognition. Of course, as noted, it requires the further steps of a locating these experiences within a socially-generated framework of emancipatory discourse; and b the establishment of common experiences amongst individuals for these individual frustrations to develop into social struggles.

It is only through the failure of such expectations that recognition can be a motivational source, arising via negative emotional experiences.


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  • This assumption allows Honneth to assess societal change as a developmental process driven by moral claims arising from experiences of disrespect. Honneth is careful to specify that he is not advocating a single, substantive set of universal values and social arrangements. Here, Honneth is trying to retain a Kantian notion of respect and autonomy through identifying the necessary conditions for self-realisation and self-determination, akin to a Kantian kingdom of ends in which all individuals receive and confer recognition on one another.

    Whereas there are broad areas of agreement between Honneth and Taylor, Nancy Fraser is keen to differentiate her theory of recognition from both of their respective positions. Fraser believes that this binary opposition derives from the fact that, whereas recognition seems to promote differentiation, redistribution supposedly works to eliminate it.

    Situating Axel Honneth in the Frankfurt School Tradition (2011)

    Individuals exist as members of a community based upon a shared horizon of meanings, norms and values. Here, individuals exist in a hierarchically-differentiated collective class system which, from the perspective of the majority class who are constituted by a lack of resources, needs abolishing. According to Fraser, both these forms of injustice are primary and co-original, meaning that economic inequality cannot be reduced to cultural misrecognition, and vice-versa.

    Many social movements face this dilemma of having to balance the demand for economic equality with the insistence that their cultural specificity be met. Whereas Honneth thinks a sufficiently elaborated concept of recognition can do all the work needed for a critical theory of justice, Fraser argues that recognition is but one dimension of justice, albeit a vitally important one.

    The disagreement over whether or not distribution can be made to supervene on recognition arises from the differing interpretations of recognition. Contra Honneth and Taylor, Fraser does not look to situate the injustice of misrecognition in the retardation of personal development. Addressing injustices arising from misrecognition therefore means looking at the discursive representations of identities in order to identity how certain individuals are assigned a relatively inferior social standing.

    Instead, it should be conceived as an institutionalised relation of subordination. In effect, recognition is required in order to guarantee that all members of society have an equal participation in social life. Because Honneth equates recognition with self-realisation, the derivative issues of redistribution are only generated to the extent that they inhibit this personal development.

    Political Theory - Habermas and Rawls: Critical Essays on Axel Honneth's Theory of Recognition

    For Fraser, injustice in the form of both misrecognition and maldistribution is detrimental to the extent that it inhibits participatory parity. Fraser considers two possible remedies for injustice, which transcend the redistribution-recognition divide by being applicable to both. Certain forms of inequality, including those of race and gender, derive from the signifying effect of socio-cultural structures. Thus, the solution is not simply a matter of revaluing heterosexual, female or black identities.

    The proposal made by Fraser, then, is the radical restructuring of society, achieved through transformative redistribution that is, socialism and recognition cultural deconstruction. It should be noted that in her more recent work on recognition that is, Fraser ; , she resists offering any particular remedies, arguing instead that the required response to injustice will be dictated by the specific context. In a very important discussion, Fraser and Honneth defend their respective theories of recognition see also Honneth, As noted in Section III, Fraser believes that recognition and distribution are two irreducible elements of a satisfactory theory of justice.

    This is to say, they are of equal foundational importance — the one cannot be collapsed into the other. Honneth, on the other hand, contends that issues of distribution are ultimately explained and justified through issues of recognition.

    He begins justifying this claim through a historical survey of political movements and unrest amongst the lower classes during the early stages of capitalism. What marked such activities was the commonly held belief that the honour and dignity of the members of the lower classes were not being adequately respected. Any dispute regarding redistribution of wealth or resources is reducible to a claim over the social valorisation of specific group or individual traits.