Recognition theory and global poverty

Journal of Global Ethics 10 (3):267-273 (2014)
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So far, recognition theory has focused its attention on modern capitalism and its formation in richer Western societies and has neglected issues of global poverty. A brief sketch of Axel Honneth's recognition theory precedes an examination of how the theory can contribute to a better understanding of global poverty, and justice in relation to poverty. I wish to highlight five ways in which recognition theory can enrich our inventory of theories dealing with global poverty and justice: It emphasizes the importance of giving victims of poverty due weight in theorizing about poverty. It provides a vocabulary to conceptualize the experiences of suffering by poverty in terms of misrecognition. It highlights the importance of legal recognition and of actually having certain rights in order to be respected. It bases its critique of poverty on a particular idea of justice and how it should unfold. Finally, recognition theory demands that the poor must be involved in decision-making processes and their agency has ..



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Gottfried Schweiger
University of Salzburg