A Multidimensional View of Misrecognition

Ethics, Politics and Society 1 (1):9-38 (2018)
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Following Axel Honneth, I accept that recognition is integral to individuals’ self-realization and to social justice and that instances of misrecognition are injustices that cause moral injuries. The change in approach to misrecognition that I advocate is to replace a macrosocial top-down picture of misrecognition, such as Honneth’s typology, with a fine-grained phenomenological picture of multiple dimensions in misrecognition behaviors that offers greater explanatory power. This paper explains why a multidimensional view of misrecognition is needed and explores the various ways that engagement with pathological norms or disengagement from individuals lead to injustices of misrecognition and how understanding behaviors in terms of these two dimensions—norms and individuals—illuminates causes of injustice. The multidimensional view of misrecognition replaces Honneth’s binary view of misrecognition as the contrary to recognition without replacing Honneth’s conceptions of the value of recognition.

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Douglas Giles
Elmhurst University


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