Thu, 4 - Sat, 6 April 2013
at the Institute for Social Research at Goethe-University Frankfurt, Germany

with a public lecture by Prof. Dr. Thomas Bedorf (Hagen),
"Risiken (in) der Anerkennung",
Fri, 5 April 2013, 6 pm, Room 1.811 (Casino building) at Campus
Westend, Goethe University Frankfurt

Over the last 20 years, inspired by Charles Taylor’s 1992 groundbreaking essay on the politics of recognition and especially by Axel Honneth’s influential recognition-theoretic work, a largely optimistic picture of recognition has come to occupy a central place in the contemporary philosophical and social-theoretical imaginary. Thought of as key to the individual self-relation as well as to social integration, recognition is both pictured as an essential and desirable trait of human social life and assumed to be in reach, in principle, for all members of modern societies. This workshop aims to critically complement this optimistic picture by exploring the negative dynamics of recognition: On the one hand, there are widespread empirical tendencies of denial and rejection of recognition, the social and psychological sources of which are still only poorly understood and need to be addressed both at empirical and theoretical levels. Why is it that individuals and groups not simply want and demand recognition, but so often also deny or reject it? On the other hand, as an alternative strand within “recognition theory” has pointed out, there are ways in which recognition itself – and thus not only its denial – may be problematic. Recognition itself, so it is argued, can be implicated in or even become essential to relations of power and domination. This represents a significant challenge that has not yet been systematically confronted by the mainstream recognition paradigm. This workshop seeks to address these important lacunae and invites for an open discussion which brings together different perspectives from philosophy, social theory, and psychoanalysis.

Bert van den Brink, Eva Buddeberg, Robin Celikates, Julia Christ, Jean-Philippe Deranty, Steffen Herrmann, Heikki Ikäheimo, Hermann Kocyba, Arto Laitinen, Kristina Lepold, Danielle Petherbridge, Emmanuel Renault, Arvi Särkela, Titus Stahl, Italo Testa

The workshop takes place with the kind support of:
  • the Vereinigung von Freunden und Förderern der Goethe-Universität (VFF)
  • the research project "Pathologies of Recognition" at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland
  • the Institute for Social Research at Goethe-University Frankfurt
  • the School of Humanities at the University of New South Wales, Australia.
Organizers: Heikki Ikäheimo, Kristina Lepold, Titus Stahl