Social Exclusion: Pathology or Misdevelopment?

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 11:15
Location: Hörsaal 45 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Mariana ON TEIXEIRA, Unicamp (University of Campinas), Brazil
Arthur BUENO, USP (University of Sao Paulo), Brazil
If critical  theory  seeks  to  distance  itself  from  traditional  theory  by  means  of  its orientation towards emancipation, a decisive part o f the work of the critical theorist lies in formulating an interpretation of the present time based on an analysis of the emancipatory potentials embedded in social reality and the obstacles thereto. Each  critical  model  features, therefore  a  (specific)  notion  and  a  (radical)  condemnation  of  what  it considers to  be the obstacles  or hindrances on the  path to  an  emancipated  society. The orientation  towards  emancipation  that  is  distinctive  of  critical  theory  is  expressed, therefore,  only  in  this  eminently negative way.

Hindrances to emancipation were denounced throughout the history of critical theory with  the  aid  of  a  number  of  concepts,  such  as  “exploitation”  and  “alienation”  (Marx), “reification”  (Lukács),  “domination”  (Adorno and  Horkheimer),  “oppression”  (Iris Young), and metaphors such as “colonization” of the lifeworld by the system (Habermas). Recently, the analogy to medical language has gained importance, according to which it is necessary  to  identify  (via  precisely  a   “diagnosis” of  the  present  time)  the  “social pathologies”  that  affect  contemporary  societies (especially after Axel Honneth). In this paper we intend to examine the different meanings tha idea of ”social exclusion” throughout different moments of Honneth`s model of critical theory and its relation to the diagnosis of social pathologies.

The hypothesis of interpretation we try to demonstrate following the path of theconcept of “social exclusion” in Honneth’s œuvre is that the shift from misrecognition to the suffering from indeterminacy  and,  then,  to  the  social  misdevelopments  of  the  spheres  of  ethical  life  is intimately connected to a theoretical turn in which the paradigm of the struggle for social recognition  is  gradually  replaced  by  the institutionalization of  social freedom  –  and  this  results,  we  argue,  in  a  decrease in  the critical nature of  Honneth’s theoretical model.