Marxism and Cultural Studies in the Development of Axel Honneth’s Theory of Recognition

Culture, Theory, and Critique 52 (3):249-263 (2012)
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This essay analyses the interaction between Marxism and Cultural Studies in the genesis of Honneth’s theory of recognition. I reconstruct the passages through which Honneth, by drawing on the writings of some of the major cultural theorists and in reference to the works of the young Marx, develops the conceptual foundations of his paradigm (I), with special attention to the themes of social labour and the relationship between work and recognition (II). I then point out the epistemic and practical qualities of Honneth’s theory in relation to its origins in Marxism and Cultural Studies; notably its capacity of detecting even the forms of social protest which have not yet reached the threshold of public expression, and its providing an explanation for those revolts which would otherwise seem to be only led by destructive rage (III).
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