61.2 From the individual feelings of injustice to the collective struggles: Challenges to the theory of recognition

Wednesday, August 1, 2012: 11:05 AM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Oral Presentation
Emil Albert SOBOTTKA , National Council for Scientific and Technological Development, Brasilia, Brazil
Maria Eduarda OTA , Social Sciences, Pontifical Catholic University at Porto Alegre, Porto Alegre, Brazil
Joao Carlos BASSANI , Social Sciences, Pontifical Catholic University at Porto Alegre, Porto Alegre, Brazil
Axel Honneth has set himself the task of finding a new theoretical language with which the current political demands may be justified in the context of a critical theory. This fundamentation is supposed to expose which normative expectations are, and which are not upon the the different aspects of social life. Honneth defined the concept of recognition as the generative core of this language, around which he developed his approach. The relations of recognition are given for each individual as a normative expectation to begin with – as an expectation that he can legitimately have, but that he also has to fulfill for others. One central question is, how can he take note of it, and then assume it as a right and as a duty for himself? This approach has as its premise the natural development of an autonomous, emancipated individual. On the basis of an empirical research conducted in the context of poverty and violence we question this premise and his evolutionary conception of modern societies. But if the relations of recognition are to be the central form of social relations, then this theory must reconstruct the necessary learning processes that have to take place as part of the socialization, through which each individual assumes the expected basic attitude of recognition for himself and lets it become a habit. Can – and if yes, how can – social movements contribute to such learning processes, specially in contexts where recognition is denied? The text argues that they can achieve what in the movement research is described as framing: through democratic discussions in the public sphere, people learn to interpret their situations in a new way and to develop alternative projects or utopias – and so provoke other members of society to rethink about their own attitudes.