Edited by Hans-Christoph Schmidt am Busch & Christopher Zurn. This volume collects original, cutting-edge essays on the philosophy of recognition by international scholars eminent in the field. By considering the topic of recognition as addressed by both classical and contemporary authors, the volume explores the connections between historical and contemporary recognition research and makes substantive contributions to the further development of contemporary theories of recognition.
This article argues that Axel Honneth’s ethics of recognition offers a robust model for a renewed critical theory of society, provided that it does not shy away from its political dimensions. First, the ethics of recognition needs to clarify its political moment at the conceptual level to remain conceptually sustainable. This requires a clarification of the notion of identity in relation to the three spheres of recognition, and a clarification of its exact place in a politics of recognition. We suggest (...) that a return to Hegel’s mature theory of subjectivity helps specify the relationship between the normative demand for autonomous identity and its realization in and through politics. (shrink)
This article aims to present some of the main results of contemporary French psychodynamics of work. The writings of Christophe Dejours constitute the central references in this area. His psychoanalytical approach, which is initially concerned with the impact of contemporary work practices on individual health, has implications that go well beyond the narrow psycho-pathological interest. The most significant theoretical development to have come out of Dejours's research is that of Yves Clot, whose writings will constitute the second reference point in (...) this article. The article attempts to demonstrate that the thick definition of work that Dejours and Clot operate with, as a result of their focus on its psychological function, speaks directly, in substantial and critical ways, to all disciplines with an interest in work, to philosophers, social theorists and social scientists, including economic theorists. (shrink)
This article briefly presents some of the main features of the notion of “centrality of work” within the framework of the “psychodynamic” approach to work developed by Christophe Dejours. The paper argues that we should distinguish between at least four separate but related ways in which work can be said to be central: psychologically, in terms of gender relations, social-politically and epistemically.
Honneth's fundamental claim that the normativity of social orders can be found nowhere but in the very experience of those who suffer injustice leads, I argue, to a radical theory and critique of society, with the potential to provide an innovative theory of social movements and a valid alternative to political liberalism.
This volume addresses the long-standing neglect of the category of labour in critical social theory and it presents a powerful case for a new paradigm based on the anthropological significance of work and its role in shaping social bonds.
In this article we examine the idea of a politics of misrecognition of working activity. We begin by introducing a distinction between the kind of recognition and misrecognition that attaches to one’s identity, and the kind of recognition and misrecognition that attaches to one’s activity. We then consider the political significance of the latter kind of recognition and misrecognition in the context of work. Drawing first on empirical research undertaken by sociologists at the Institut für Sozialforschung in Frankfurt, we argue (...) for a differentiated concept of recognition that shows the politics of misrecognition at work to be as much a matter of conflict between modes of recognition as it is a struggle for recognition as opposed to non -recognition. The differentiated concept of recognition which allows for this empirical insight owes much to Axel Honneth’s theory. But as we argue in the section that follows, this theory is ambiguous about the normative content of the expectations of recognition that are bound up with the activity of working. This in turn makes it unclear how we should understand the normative basis of the politics of the misrecognition of what one does at work. In the final sections of the article, we suggest that the psychodynamic model of work elaborated by Christophe Dejours and others at the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers in Paris can shed light on this matter; that is to say, it can help to clarify the normative significance and political stakes of the misrecognition of working activity. (shrink)
This article aims to present a new perspective on contemporary debates about the transformations of work and employment, and their impacts on individuals and communities, by focusing on the writings of Christophe Dejours. Basically, the article attempts to show that Dejours' writings make a significant contribution to contemporary social theory. This might seem like an odd claim to make, since Dejours' main training was in psychoanalysis and his main activity is the clinical, psychiatric study of pathologies linked to work. However, (...) in the course of his career, Dejours has greatly extended this initial clinical interest, and by integrating insights from philosophy and other social sciences, has developed a highly sophisticated and consistent theoretical model of work. Starting from a narrow psychopathological focus, Dejours has gradually developed a full-blown theoretical defence of the centrality of work. The article outlines the main features of Dejours' metapsychological model, and the structuring role played by work in his theory of subjective identity. This allows us to outline the originality of his approach by comparison with some of the most significant current accounts of the impact of transformations of work and employment conditions upon individuals and societies, notably Honneth, Castel and Sennett. (shrink)
Although relatively unknown a decade ago, the work of Jacques Ranciere is fast becoming a central reference in the humanities and social sciences. His thinking brings a fresh, innovative approach to many fields, notably the study of work, education, politics, literature, film, art, as well as philosophy. This is the first, full-length introduction to Ranciere's work and covers the full range of his contribution to contemporary thought, presenting in clear, succinct chapters the key concepts Ranciere has developed in his writings (...) over the last forty years. Students new to Ranciere will find this work accessible and comprehensive, an ideal introduction to this major thinker. For readers already familiar with Ranciere, the in-depth analysis of each key concept, written by leading scholars, should provide an ideal reference. (shrink)
This essay discusses four books recently published by Christophe Dejours with the aim of extracting their most significant social-theoretical and philosophical implications. The first two books are two contributions by Dejours in current debates and public policy initiatives in France through the application of his psychodynamic approach to work related issues (work and violence; work and suicide). Even though these texts are shaped by the specific contexts in which they were written, they also contain broader social-theoretical insights that are quite (...) significant. In the other two books, the two volumes of his sum Travail vivant, Dejours makes explicit the fundamental theoretical foundation upon which his psychodynamic approach is based. I will attempt to demonstrate that these books have significant implications for contemporary social theory and philosophy, notably as they establish the indissoluble continuity between the corporeal and cognitive capacities of the human subject, and the importance of this insight for moral and political reflection. (shrink)
This paper analyses the model of interaction at the heart of Axel Honneth's social philosophy. It argues that interaction in his mature ethics of recognition has been reduced to intercourse between human persons and that the role of nature is now missing from it. The ethics of recognition takes into account neither the material dimensions of individual and social action, nor the normative meaning of non-human persons and natural environments. The loss of nature in the mature ethics of recognition is (...) made visible through a comparison with Honneth's initial formulation of his project. As an anthropology of intersubjectivity combining the teaching of the German philosophical anthropologists and G.H. Mead, his first model sought to ground social theory in the natural preconditions of human action. The last part of the article argues that a return to Mead's theory of practical intersubjectivity informed by Merleau-Ponty's germane theory of intercorporeity provides essential conceptual tools to enable the integration of the natural and the material within the theory of recognition. (shrink)
In this paper, I consider succinctly the main Marxist objections to Honneth’s model of critical social theory, and Honneth’s key objections to Marx-inspired models. I then seek to outline a rapprochement between the two positions, by showing how Honneth’s normative concept of recognition is not antithetical to functionalist arguments, but in fact contains a social-theoretical dimension, the idea that social reproduction and social evolution revolve around struggles around the interpretation of core societal norms. By highlighting the social theoretical side of (...) recognition, one can outline a model of critical social theory that in fact corresponds to the descriptive and normative features outlined by Marx himself. However, the price of this rapprochement for Honnethian critical theory is a greater emphasis on the division of labour as the central mechanism of social reproduction. (shrink)
This paper focuses on the way in which Feuerbach's attempt to develop a naturalistic, realist remodeling of Hegel's relational ontology, which culminated in his own version of “sensualism”, led him to emphasize the vulnerability of the subject and the role of affectivity, thus making object-dependence a constitutive feature of subjectivity. We find in Feuerbach the first lineaments of a philosophical theory of object-relations, one that anticipates the well-known psychological theory of the same name, but one that also offers a broader (...) metaphysical basis in which all types of “essential objects” are shown to matter to subjectivity. This Feuerbachian theory of object-relations, the paper then argues, foreshadows a number of important developments in 20th century post-Hegelian philosophy. In it can be found an anticipation of Adorno's later theory of mimesis. Equally, this theory already emphasizes the “libidinal” nature of intentionality, in a way that announces Merleau-Ponty's ontology of the flesh. Finally, the last section of the article proposes a model with which we might reconstruct the way in which object-relations and self-relations can be brought together consistently. In this instance, Feuerbach uses concepts that announce Freud's notion of “primary narcissism”. One contemporary philosopher who has proposed a sophisticated model of subjectivity, in which primary narcissism is shown to complement object-dependence, is Axel Honneth. The last section argues that Feuerbach's full image of subjective identity as reciprocal scaffolding of self- and object-relations reminds strongly of Honneth's core concept of “positive self-relation”. (shrink)
In the following, I want to examine the structure and the significance of the notion of value in Hegel’s philosophy of right. In the first part, I use the 1817 version to define the category itself. Hegel sees the concept of value as a formal conceptual scheme, which can be applied with full justification to the most diverse contexts. It is striking that he should use the same word, in the same structural sense, in fields as diverse as economic exchange, (...) crime and its punishment, indi-vidual action, individual worth, the social recognition of the person, and general social–cultural beliefs. Hegel deliberately exploits the full extent of the homonymy of “value,” to suggest the synonymy of its logical meaning in all these different contexts. This, however, has profound implications for the concept of value. My claim is that the homonymy of value rests on Hegel’s understanding of value as grounded in sociality. Before substantiating this claim in the conclusion, I will attempt to show, in the second part, how the definition of value found in the 1817 lectures is the counterpart in the social–philosophical of the Measure category analyzed in the Logic. In the third part, I study the different occurrences of value in the 1820 "Philosophy of Right" in order to highlight the extent of the homonymy and synonymy of the concept in Hegel’s mature thinking. (shrink)
It is a hallmark of the Frankfurt School tradition of critical theory that it has consistently made philosophical reflection a central component of its overall project. Indeed, the core identity that this tradition has been able to maintain arguably stems from the fact that a number of key philosophical assumptions have been shared by the generations of thinkers involved in it. These assumptions form a basic ‘philosophical matrix’, whose main aim is to allow for a ‘critique of reason’, the heart (...) of the critique of modern society, which emphasises the collective, historically situated and naturalistically grounded nature of rationality. In this matrix, Feuerbach's place has been only a minor one. This paper aims to show that there is more to be retrieved from Feuerbach for critical theory than at first meets the eye. The first section identifies key conceptual features that are shared by the central authors of the Frankfurt School. They signal a collectivist and materialist shift from Kant to Marx via Hege.. (shrink)
The origins of Axel Honneth's theory of recognition lie in his earlier project to correct the conceptual confusions and empirical shortcomings of historical materialism for the purpose of an adequate post-Habermasian critical social theory. Honneth proposed to accomplish this project, most strikingly, by reconnecting critical social theory with one of its repressed philosophical sources, namely anthropological materialism. In its mature shape, however, recognition theory operates on a narrow concept of interaction, which seems to lose sight of the material mediations with (...) which intersubjective relations are imbricated. The paper argues that a circumspect return to this twofold materialist heritage could substantively correct and enrich contemporary critical theory. The paper provides an illustration of this with the paradigmatic example of work. (shrink)
The paper examines briefly Kant's and Fichte's, and more thoroughly, Hegel's theses on womanhood and their social and political consequences. It shows, taking Hegel as a case study, that the idealists' conceptual frameworks should have led them to recognize the rights of women, and, importantly, in Kant's and Hegel's case, that they implicitly did so. However, they chose to repress these unwanted outcomes behind teachings that were more in line with the beliefs of their time. This tension, it is argued (...) in conclusion, is indicative of a conceptual crux that is specific to German idealism, but whose effects can still be perceived today. (shrink)
The Tender Indifference of the World: Camus’ Theory of the Flesh Content Type Journal Article Pages 513-525 DOI 10.1007/s11841-011-0273-1 Authors Jean-Philippe Deranty, Macquarie University, North Ryde, NSW 2109, Australia Journal Sophia Online ISSN 1873-930X Print ISSN 0038-1527 Journal Volume Volume 50 Journal Issue Volume 50, Number 4.
In this article, we argue that the usual restriction of critical theory to ‘modern’ norms is subject to problems of coherence, historical accuracy and moral obligation. First, we illustrate how critical theory opposes itself to societies designated as pre-modern, through a summary of Honneth’s recognition theory. We then show how an over-emphasis on modernity’s normative novelty obscures counter-currents in ethical life that threaten the unity of the modern era. Those two steps prepare the main analysis: that the ‘exceptionalist’ modernism of (...) critical theory distorts our view of history and ignores normative dimensions of the past. We show how medieval and early-modern societies in Europe experienced many conflicts and possessed institutions that create illuminating configurations with modern norms. As a result, we articulate several kinds of moral and political link to the past that should lead critical theorists to expand the historical reach of their analyses. (shrink)
Work and Experience of Domination in Contemporary Neoliberalism This paper seeks to study the contemporary forms of domination at and through work, by focusing on subjective experiences of work. Against the background of Marx’s analysis of the manyfold nexus between social and political domination in general and domination at work, I begin by drawing in broad strokes the general picture of current experiences of work emerging from the contemporary French sociology and psychology of work. Related to this rich literature but (...) also contrasting with it, the psychodynamic approach developed by Christophe Dejours seems particularly significant, notably because its provides a consistent model explaining the links between subjective experience, social interactions beyond work, material conditions of production, and broad cultural and political factors. From the psychodynamic model arises an original analysis of the current forms of domination and alienation at work, one, I argue in conclusion, which could substantially inform the current attempt to develop a new “social philosophy”. (shrink)
The book forms the first critical study of Jacques Rancière’s impact and contribution to contemporary theoreticaland interdisciplinary studies. It showcases the work of leading scholars infields such as political theory, history and aesthetic theory; each of whom areuniquely situated to engage with the novelty of Rancière’s thinking withintheir respective fields. Each of the essays provides aninvestigation into the critical stance Rancière takes towards hiscontemporaries, concentrating on the versatile application of his thought todiverse fields of study. The aim ofthis collection is (...) to use the critical interventions Rancière’s writing makeson current topics and themes as a way of offering new critical perspectives onhis thought. Wielding their individual expertise, each contributor assesses hisperspectives and positions on thinkers and topics of contemporary importance.The edition includes a new essay by Jacques Rancière, which charts thedifferent problems and motivations that have shaped his work. (shrink)