Is redistribution a form of recognition? comments on the Fraser–Honneth debate

Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 8 (1):85-102 (2005)
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It has been argued that, in political theory and political practice, a concern with the distribution of economic opportunities and resources has recently been displaced by a preoccupation with the acknowledgement of cultural identities and differences. In their jointly authored book, Redistribution or Recognition?, Nancy Fraser and Axel Honneth present their very different reactions to this development. While Fraser argues that redistribution and recognition are two mutually irreducible elements of an account of social justice, Honneth contends that a suitably differentiated account of recognition can provide the basis of a theory of justice on its own. This article critically assesses the relative merits of these two positions by focusing on their accounts of the nature of capitalism, the sort of social theories that are needed in light of these accounts, and the moral philosophies associated with these social theories. This assessment leads to a number of conclusions about the proper relationship between recognition and redistribution in a theory of social justice



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