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Critical theory once offered a powerful, distinctive approach to social research, enabling sociologists to diagnose the irrationalities of the social world across institutions and forms of thought, even within the subject’s deepest desires. Yet, with the work of Axel Honneth, such analytical potency has been lost. The ‘domestication’ of critical theory stems from the programme’s embrace of Honneth’s ‘recognition-cognitivist’ understanding of social problems; where all social maladies are understood to lie, ultimately, within the head of social subjects and within the intersubjective relationships they enact. This book explores the manifold limitations of this dominant understanding of social pathologies and builds towards an alternate theoretical infrastructure, drawn from a marriage of insights from Erich Fromm and Herbert Marcuse. While Honneth’s critical theory leads to researchers exploring all social problems as ‘pathologies of recognition’, a return to Fromm and Marcuse reminds critical theorists that power precedes subjectivation and that a wide range of pressing social problems exists which are invisible to the recognition framework. As such, this book urges critical theorists to once again think beyond recognition.

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On the battle for critical theory
Neal Harris

Most of today’s nominal ‘critical theorists’ have abandoned their tradition’s Marxian heritage (see Thompson, 2016 ; Kouvelakis, 2019 ). Axel Honneth’s Struggle for Recognition ( 1992) , and his more recent Freedom’s Right ( 2014) , typify this reverse-entryism. Such a ‘domestication of critical theory’ 1 is characterised by the embrace of neoliberal norms

in Critical theory and social pathology
Neal Harris

Axel Honneth’s work has been at the forefront of critical theory for over three decades (see Petherbridge, 2013; van den Brink and Owen, 2007 ; Deranty, 2009 ; Zurn, 2011, 2015 ). Martin Jay, renowned historian of the Frankfurt School, wrote that Honneth’s critical theory is ‘ingenious and provocative’ ( Jay, 2008 : 3

in Critical theory and social pathology
Volker M. Heins

unfortunately been dissolved by continental political philosophers such as Jürgen Habermas and Axel Honneth who reject all group-based understandings of recognition which cannot be reduced to aspirations for individual freedom within a given state or society. Yet this individualist bias has proven to be rather unproductive in the field of international political theory. I therefore suggest

in Recognition and Global Politics
Making environmental security ‘critical’ in the Asia-Pacific
Lorraine Elliott

about physical danger and damage. As Linklater suggests, harm also involves ‘distress, suffering, apprehension, anxiety or fear’ ( 2002 : 327). Or, as Axel Honneth suggests, harm is implicated in the problems of recognition: a lack of solidarity (or ‘depreciation of the social value of forms of self-realization’), in physical maltreatment or humiliations

in Critical Security in the Asia-Pacific
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Misrecognizing current enthusiasms
Andrew Poe

enthusiasm, see George Ciccariello-Maher , “ Decolonizing Fanaticism ,” Theory & Event 17 , no. 2 ( 2014 ). 10 Axel Honneth raises a worry about the exclusionary logic of the language of

in Political enthusiasm
Nancy Fraser

, then, I shall avoid turning prematurely to ethics. I begin with the question, ‘Is recognition an issue of justice, and thus of morality, or one of the good life, and thus of ethics?’ Usually, recognition is understood as an issue of the good life. This is the view of both Charles Taylor and Axel Honneth, the two most prominent contemporary theorists of recognition. For both Taylor and Honneth, being recognised by another subject is a necessary condition for attaining full, undistorted subjectivity. To deny someone recognition is to deprive her or him of a basic

in The culture of toleration in diverse societies
Paul K. Jones

). 37 Habermas, The Theory of Communicative Action Volume One , 333. 38 Axel Honneth, The Critique of Power: Reflective Stages in a Critical Social Theory , trans. Kenneth Baynes (Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 1991), Ch 1. Cf. Axel Honneth, The Fragmented World of the Social: Essays in Social and Political Philosophy , trans. Charles W. Wright (Albany: State University of New York Press

in Critical theory and demagogic populism
Meanings, Limits, Manifestations
Patrick Hayden
Kate Schick

recognition that finds its satisfaction only in the mutuality of reciprocated desire – driving a dialectical process whose future completion will signal the end of history. More recently, the debate around recognition gained new life due largely to the work of philosophers such as Charles Taylor, Jürgen Habermas, Axel Honneth and Nancy Fraser, who reintroduced consideration of recognition dynamics into

in Recognition and Global Politics
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The ‘explosive charge’ of critical theory
Neal Harris

the impact Axel Honneth’s work has had on the Frankfurt School’s social-theoretical foundations , and, in particular, the impact the critical theory of recognition has had on the framing of ‘social pathology’. Frankfurt School scholarship can seem imposing to the uninitiated as it elides disciplines, uniting Marxian theory, Freudian

in Critical theory and social pathology