Association and recognition in authoritarian societies: A theoretical beginning

European Journal of Political Theory 11 (3):324-347 (2012)

Authors
Aspen Brinton
Boston College
Abstract
This paper presents a theoretical sketch for how the existence of civic associations in authoritarian regimes might be analysed. By relating the concepts of ‘civil society’ and ‘recognition’, I explore how associations are a potential locus of mutual recognition in any society, democratic or undemocratic. While there are many theorizations of both civil society and recognition in relation to democratic political contexts, normative theories seeking to explain the existence of associations in authoritarian societies are less robustly developed. Recognition, more specifically mutual recognition, is theorized not only as one key ‘good’ sought through the act of forming the associations of civil society, but also as a human need which will prompt the act of association within dangerous contexts. This analysis informs thinking behind acts of civil disobedience springing from civil society, as well as rationalizations for dissident activities undertaken by associations within authoritarian regimes
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DOI 10.1177/1474885111430612
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Evaluating Discourses of Dissent: Questions of Moralität and Sittlichkeit.A. E. Brinton - 2016 - Journal of International Political Theory 12 (3):320-344.

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