The reason we are desperate for recognition.Leading German Social Philosopher Who Conceived the Theory of the Human Struggle for Recognition
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The Human Struggle for Recognition
Why are we so affected by the recognition we receive from others? Why do we fall into a rage of humiliation if we don’t get recognized? Axel Honneth tackles these questions with the theory of the struggle for recognition.
Human beings rely on the recognition of others. Even a three-year-old child has the desire for their parents’ recognition as they run around in front of them. In other words, recognition is a social tool by which humans can find affirmation in their lives.
In a society with limited or unfair recognition, riots and demonstrations may occur. If an unrecognized person gets insulted and humiliated socially, their psychological reactions tend to be of anger, which can be a psychological motive for social struggles. Axel Honneth explains that since the French Revolution, which came about as the bourgeois demanded recognition of their rights, modern demonstrations by the socially disadvantaged or minorities in societies are struggles over the desire for recognition. These struggles continue until a mutual recognition is reached. Dr. Honneth leads us to a new solution for society that deals with the struggle for recognition, the fundamental reason for social conflict.
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Professor of philosophy at Columbia University Director of the Institute for Social Research in Frankfurt President of the International Hegel Society Professor of philosophy at Goethe University Frankfurt Bruno Kreisky Prize Ernst Bloch Prize
Axel Honneth is a leading German social philosopher who has established himself as a leading authority of modern philosophy, expanding the theory of recognition to a social concept. He is regarded as the third generation of the Frankfurt School, following Horkheimer, Adorno, and Jurgen Habermas.
Axel Honneth studied Hegel’s theory of recognition from a social context and conceived of the idea of the struggle for recognition. In this theory, the lack of recognition blocks an individual’s self-realization, and the ensuing frustration and humiliation give rise to social conflicts such as riots and demonstrations. His book, The Struggle for Recognition, opened a new horizon in social theory and is considered a classic of modern philosophy.
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