The recognition of no-body
In the 1980s, Jürgen Habermas moved the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory from the critique of political economic and ideological domination to a discursive theory of "distorted communication" limiting the realization of the project of a democratic modernity. But with this move, much of the direction of the early Frankfurt School was eclipsed, as were concerns with culture ranging from the role of "culture industries "to the emancipatory potential of the esthetic realms. This tradition was further developed by Axel Honneth whose selective interpretation of Hegel's master/slave relationship as the struggle for recognition became the fundamental basis for a critical theory based on recognition within interpersonal context. He implicitly embraced Durkheim's notion of an organic society that, notwithstanding the division of labor, was held together by a shared morality, and moved away from the Freudian theory of desire, repression, and defense ambivalence to a symbolic interactionist perspective based on the more cognitive and linguistic aspects of interaction as constituting the self, leaving us with disembodied subjectivities struggling for recognition. Given the centrality of recognition/misrecognition, many sympathetic to identity politics have embraced his position; but identity politics cannot be encapsulated apart from the political economy of its context.
Langman, L. (2019)., The recognition of no-body, in V. Schmitz (ed.), Axel Honneth and the critical theory of recognition, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 69-96.
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