The I in WeStudies in the Theory of Recognition
The I in We
Studies in the Theory of Recognition
In this volume Axel Honneth deepens and develops his highly influential theory of recognition, showing how it enables us both to rethink the concept of justice and to offer a compelling account of the relationship between social reproduction and individual identity formation.

Drawing on his reassessment of Hegel’s practical philosophy, Honneth argues that our conception of social justice should be redirected from a preoccupation with the principles of distributing goods to a focus on the measures for creating symmetrical relations of recognition. This theoretical reorientation has far-reaching implications for the theory of justice, as it obliges this theory to engage directly with problems concerning the organization of work and with the ideologies that stabilize relations of domination.

In the final part of this volume Honneth shows how the theory of recognition provides a fruitful and illuminating way of exploring the relation between social reproduction and identity formation. Rather than seeing groups as regressive social forms that threaten the autonomy of the individual, Honneth argues that the ‘I’ is dependent on forms of social recognition embodied in groups, since neither self-respect nor self-esteem can be maintained without the supportive experience of practising shared values in the group.

This important new book by one of the leading social philosophers of our time will be of great interest to students and scholars in philosophy, sociology, politics and the humanities and social sciences generally.
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  • October 2012
  • 240 pages
  • 160 x 237 mm / 6 x 9 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $69.95
  • 9780745652320
  • Paperback $24.95
  • 9780745652337
  • Open eBook $24.95
  • 9780745694795
Table of Contents
I. Hegelian Roots
From Desire to Recognition: Hegel's Grounding of Self-Consciousness
The Realm of Actualized Freedom: Hegel's Notion of a "Philosophy of Right"
II. Systematic Consequences
The Fabric of Justice: On the Limits of Contemporary Proceduralism
Labour and Recognition: A Redefinition
Recognition as Ideology: The Connection between Morality and Power
Dissolutions of the Social: The Social Theory of Luc Boltanski and Laurent Thévenot
Philosophy as Social Research: David Miller's Theory of Justice
III. Social and Theoretical Applications
Recognition between States: On the Moral Substrate of
International Relations
Organized Self-Realisation: Paradoxes of Individualisation
Paradoxes of Capitalist Modernisation: A Research Programme (with Martin Hartmann)
IV. Psychoanalytical Ramifications
The Work of Negativity: A Recognition-Theoretical
Revision of Psychoanalysis
The I in the We: Recognition as a Driving Force of Group Formation
Facets of the Presocial Self: A Rejoinder to Joel Whitebook
Disempowering Reality: Secular Forms of Consolation
About the Author
Axel Honneth is Professor of Philosophy at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, Frankfurt.
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