Raisons politiques 61, février 2016
La reconnaissance. Lectures hégéliennes
RECOGNITION. Hegelian Lectures
Towards An Antagonistic Reformulation of the Struggle for Recognition: Forum Introduction
Charlotte Epstein et Thomas Lindemann
The articles brought together in this volume are (mostly) the fruits of an international workshop held in Paris in June 2014, co-organised with Ole-Jacob Sending. Starting from a critical engagement with the recognition literature, its purpose was to chart a path back to Hegel, in order to mine the resources that a return to the original formulation of the struggle for recognition in the Phenomenology of Spirit provides for deepening contemporary understandings of the concept of recognition, beyond the "consensual" bend it has broadly taken in that literature, notwithstanding Axel Honneth's focus on recognition as a struggle. Centred on this return to Hegel, the workshop brought together philosophers, political, social and international relations theorists, as well as sociologists and legal scholars. In this article we introduce the various contributions, and draw out how the conversations generated across these disciplinary perspectives enable us to rethink the concept of recognition and pave the way for its utilisation in critical political and social analyses that more explicitly foreground its antagonistic and "agency" dimensions.
The Honnethian reading of Hegel in The struggle for Recognition
This article aims to examine the use of Hegel's philosophy in Axel Honneth’s theorization of recognition. We follow a triple objective. First, at a genetic level, we want to understand how and why Honneth, from his work Kritik der Macht, reaches the point where he needs to update the Hegelian motif of the “struggle for recognition”. Second, we seek to show in what sense the interpretation of Hegel suggested by Honneth in The struggle for recognition appears critical to understand the meaning of the “struggle” in his own theory of recognition. At a more critical level, we are driven eventually to present the objections, based on alternative interpretations of Hegelian philosophy, that have been directed to Honneth’s theory of “struggle for recognition”. These objections always emphasize that the suspension by Honneth of the figure of the master and slave found in the Phenomenology of Spirit is a critical limit if we deal, as Honneth, with the development of a critical theory of the social.
Hegel: from recognition to integration
In this article Bernard Bourgeois returns to Hegel’s concept of recognition in the Phenomenology of Spirit to lay down some definitional bases for our forum. Bourgeois carefully unpacks the meaning of Hegel’s concept (its raison d’être, how it unfolds, and it ends) and the place it occupies in his thought. Recognition, he shows, is a necessary failure propelling forward Hegel’s dialectic of becoming human, which is to say, free. He shows the need to widen the contemporary focus in social theory on recognition alone to a broader appreciation of the role it Hegel sees it playing as a moment in a dynamic process of integration into a larger whole.
The emotional significance of non-recognition in the Hegelian dialectic of master and servant
The Marxist interpretation of Hegel’s dialectic of master and servant as the expression of class struggle has been countered by the will of some commentators to go back to the internal logic of the development of the spirit shown by this figure-parable. Precluding the passions, they have articulated a purely analytical account, detailing the various contents of consciousness punctuating each stage of the dialectic. However, does such an objectifying interprÉtation exhaust the lessons delivered here by Hegel? The very violent emotional lexicon used by Hegel in this passage leads us to be skeptical about that point. This article thus aims to reassess the centrality of emotions in this moment of confrontation of the two consciousnesses; and to show how it helps to better understand the process and denial of recognition.
Normative rationality: Hegelian impulses
This article examines the resources which Hegel’s thought could offer to the current theory of the normative rationality, in particular by means of the concept of ethical life (Sittlichkeit). The examination concerns at first Hegel’s theory of the “abstract law”, which develops an original vision of the relationship of law and right. Relationships between legal and moral normativity are then studied, about which Hegel’s arguments converge to a certain extent with those of legal positivism. Finally, the article analyzes Hegel’s institutional theory of the ethical “dispositions”, which tries to overtake the opposition between subjectivist and objectivist visions of the society.
Institutionalizing recognition? Or how to classify institutions
This paper delineates a typology of political institutions in connection with the exchange and the distribution of diverse forms of recognition. Taking for granted that collective mobilizations and conflict in contemporary societies address claims to recognition to the institutions (claims to rights, promotions, certifications, or multiple public statements), this typology distinguishes between three “pure” categories of institutional practices: between social practices by which institutions express social norms of recognition; practices by which institutions correct the “distortions” in the exchange or distribution of recognition and those by which they produce directly recognition (as public esteem). These “pure” categories may obviously be combined, and through the study of these combinations, this paper “tests” the validity of such a typology.
The Struggle for recognition between States, Nations and Cultures
Hegel’s analysis of the struggle for recognition between individuals needs to be extended to States, Nations and Cultures. To understand it properly, it should be combined with Marcel Mauss’discovery in The Gift. This article states that what subjects (individual or collective) are aiming at, through this struggle, is to be recognized as givers, that their generosity and creativity be acknowledged.
Social-liberalism: From a political label to a scientific concept
Equivalent of “social-traitor” for some, of modern social-democrat for others, the socialliberal term achieves a massive success in the political and media debate since the mid-1990s. Breaking with ordinary uses of the term, this article intends to sketch the outlines of a concept of social-liberalism. From content analysis of 2,000 texts of intellectuals and political leaders of the French Socialist Party, it is getting to the heart of discursive flesh and responding, documented manner, to a central question for the future of the European left: how social democratic elites have integrated into their way of thinking and governing elements from neoliberalism and how they attempt to legitimize in theory?
Marxism and climate wars. Critical theories and the evolutions of collective violence
This article reflects on the link between critical theories and military strategy. After having examined the relationship between Marxism and military strategy in a historical perspective, we will turn to the different approaches of collective violence in contemporary critical theories. Few of them take into account military violence as a specific form of collective violence. This is problematic, since an important part of collective violence today remains military. We will then describe a fast-developing military doctrine: military ecology. This doctrine takes as its object the military implications of climate change. Thus, it represents an interesting observation point to grasp the transformations of collective violence in the years to come. We will try to address certain challenges this doctrine raises for contemporary critical theories.
Enforcing discipline. Psy-function tested by the recent history of psychology
Increasingly, the Psy-function is playing a bigger part in our daily life. If the Psy-function initially emerged around the figure of the child in the school environment, and subsequently in the context of psychiatric institutions, it is now also playing a role in the corporate world. Simultaneously, psychology brokes away from a tradition that linked it to natural sciences. A simlilar evolution can be observed in economic history. Specifically, behaviorist psychology presents itself as behavior control technology that meets production imperatives as well as security standards, which guarantee a wellfunctionning economy. In that sense, it contributes to the realization of what G. Agamben called “the concentrationary paradigm”.