Analyzing recognition: Identification, acknowledgement, and recognitive attitudes towards persons

Heikki Ikäheimo, Arto Laitinen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

72 Citations (Scopus)


There is a wide consensus today that ‘recognition’ is something that we need a clear grasp of in order to understand the dynamics of political struggles and, perhaps, the constitution and dynamics of social reality more generally. Yet the discussions on recognition have so far often been conceptually rather inexplicit, in the sense that the key concepts have remained largely unexplicated or undefined. Since the English word ‘recognition’ is far from unambiguous, it is possible, and to our mind also actually the case, that different authors have meant different things with this word. In what follows, we will make a number of conceptual distinctions and clarificatory proposals that are intended to bring to more sharply focus the field of phenomena that are being discussed under the catchword ‘recognition.’ This is meant to serve a dual purpose: to suggest a number of distinctions that are of help in formulating rival views, and to propose what strikes us as the best overall position formulated in terms of those distinctions. Our proposals are meant to be, by and large, compatible with Axel Honneth's work on recognition, which to us is the most ambitious and differentiated account of recognition available. Where we propose something that seems to us to be in compatible with Honneth's explicit formulations, we indicate it in the footnotes.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRecognition and Power: Axel Honneth and the Tradition of Critical Social Theory
PublisherCambridge University Press (CUP)
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9780511498732
ISBN (Print)0521864453, 9780521864459
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2007


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