Social Exclusion: Pathology or Misdevelopment?
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.