Beyond Dignity and Difference


Authors
Maeve Cooke
University College Dublin
Abstract
Revisiting Taylor's 1992 account of the politics of recognition, I argue that he is right to discern a strand in contemporary politics that goes beyond the demand for recognition of dignity. Against Taylor I contend that this is best understood as a concern not for recognition of difference but for the value of something that is not universally shared, such as a particular ethical conception, cultural tradition or religious belief and practice. Using the examples of three social movements I show the relevance of this for contemporary politics. My empirically based argument is supported normatively by a discussion of Hegel's critique of `morality as conscience' in his Phenomenology. Referring to Axel Honneth's theory of recognition I highlight the lack of attention to this kind of concern for recognition in contemporary political and social theory. I conclude by specifying the key features of the concept of recognition most appropriate for responding to it publicly under conditions of value-pluralism
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DOI 10.1177/1474885108096961
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