Conflicts, Limits, Recognition
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The theory of recognition, which traces back to Hegel, takes an important place in recent intellectual debates. In the context of political and social philosophy, authors like Jürgen Habermas, Charles Taylor, Nancy Fraser, Axel Honneth, among others, have shown its importance and its ethical-political value. At the center of the debate between these authors lies the linkage between recognition, autonomy, subjective identity and political-economic transformations. On the other hand, authors like Frantz Fanon, Louis Althusser, Michel Foucault, Judith Butler and Slavoj Žižek, among others, have shown how recognition can be used for the transmission and the reproduction of dominant ideologies. So instead of stressing its emancipatory potential, these authors have shown that recognition is a way in which subjectivity is constituted as mere subjection.
In the realm of psychoanalysis, the notion of recognition has an equally strong presence. On the one hand, especially in the United States, the so called relational and intersubjective mouvement —represented by authors like Jessica Benjamin or Dona Orange and strongly influenced by the tradition of the Frankfurt School— have explored the potential of recognition as a solution for the destructiveness that threatens intersubjectivity. In addition, before the beginning of the 1960ies, Jacques Lacan —influenced by the French intellectual appropriation of the work of Hegel—placed the question of intersubjective recognition in the center of his conception of the cure. After this first period, though, his work displaced itself towards the revelation of the alienating condition of intersubjectivity. Starting from this critique, for Lacan the subject paradoxically recognizes itself only in front of the impossibility of being completely recognized within the intersubjetive field.
This rich debate, constituted by philosophic, sociologic, political and psychoanalytical elements, is located at the borderline where the analytic practice interrogates itself for its political dimension as well as politics interrogates itself for its emancipatory potential.
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