Wednesday, September 12, 2012

New Book: "The I in We" by Axel Honneth

The I in We: Studies in the Theory of Recognition

by Axel Honneth

(Polity, September 2012)

240 pages



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 symmetical 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.



I. Hegelian Roots
1. From Desire to Recognition: Hegel's Grounding of Self-Consciousness
2. The Realm of Actualized Freedom: Hegel's Notion of a "Philosophy of Right"

II. Systematic Consequences
3. The Fabric of Justice: On the Limits of Contemporary Proceduralism
4. Labour and Recognition: A Redefinition
5. Recognition as Ideology: The Connection between Morality and Power
6. Dissolutions of the Social: The Social Theory of Luc Boltanski and Laurent Thévenot [preview]
7. Philosophy as Social Research: David Miller's Theory of Justice

III. Social and Theoretical Applications
8. Recognition between States: On the Moral Substrate of International Relations
9. Organized Self-Realisation: Paradoxes of Individualisation
10. Paradoxes of Capitalist Modernisation: A Research Programme (with Martin Hartmann) [preview]

IV. Psychoanalytical Ramifications
11. The Work of Negativity: A Recognition-Theoretical  Revision of Psychoanalysis [abstract]
12. The I in the We: Recognition as a Driving Force of Group Formation
13. Facets of the Presocial Self: A Rejoinder to Joel Whitebook
14. Disempowering Reality: Secular Forms of Consolation

Axel Honneth is Professor of Social Philosophy at Goethe University and Director of the Institute for Social Research in Frankfurt am Main.

The German edition:
"Das Ich im Wir. Studien zur Anerkennungstheorie" (Suhrkamp Verlag, 2010).

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