Revolutionary or Less Than Revolutionary Recognition

From P2P Foundation
Jump to navigation Jump to search

  • Article: Revolutionary or Less-Than-Revolutionary Recognition? By Richard Gunn & Adrian Wilding



"In the course of the last twenty years, the term recognition has entered the lexicon of mainstream political theory. The present paper takes issue with accounts of recognition which have become influential in these decades. Our criticism of such accounts is twofold: themes explored in Hegel’s pioneering account of recognition have been downplayed and, at the same time, the notion of recognition has been prised away from its revolutionary implications.

Discussion in our paper falls into three sections. In the first, influential accounts of recognition given in the last twenty years are considered: more specifically, a comment on Charles Taylor’s attempt to link the notion of recognition with multiculturalism is followed by discussion of themes in Axel Honneth’s work. In the second, aspects of Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit are considered. Our aim is to present the Phenomenology as a work whose conception of recognition differs markedly from that of discussions in recent years. In the third section, recognition’s claim to be a notion that has revolutionary implications is explored – via provisional discussion of property and power.

The standpoint from which the present paper is written may be briefly indicated. During the twenty years of political theory with which our article is concerned, Left Hegelianism (Marxism included) has undergone a period of eclipse. As part of this eclipse, recognition has been understood in less-than-revolutionary ways. Our article contributes to a Left Hegelian resurgence. It does so by recollecting a perspective on recognition that neoliberal hegemony has all-but-concealed." (


see: Recognition

More Information