Recognition theory and contemporary French moral and political philosophy

Reopening the dialogue

Edited by Miriam Bankovsky and Alice Le Goff

Recognition theory and contemporary French moral and political philosophy

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-1696-3
  • Pages: 264
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £29.95
  • Published Date: July 2017
  • BIC Category: Society & social sciences / Political science & theory, Ethics & Moral Philosophy, POLITICAL SCIENCE / History & Theory, PHILOSOPHY / Ethics & Moral Philosophy, Political science & theory, Politics
  • Series: Reappraising the Political


The revival of recognition theory has brought new energy to critical theory. In general terms, recognition theory aims to critically evaluate social structures against a standard of social freedom identified with norms of interaction which are freely recognised by all parties. Until now, attention has primarily focused on the categories and forms of recognition theory. However, the influence of contemporary French theory upon the development of theories of recognition has not yet received the consideration it merits. This collection outlines the current state of recognition theory, studies the impact of French theory, and uses French thought to identity aspects of the recognitive process which are often overlooked. Exploring French accounts of agonistic identity construction, vulnerability, power, ethical obligation and reflexive theory construction, this book supports the intentions of critical theory with heightened attentiveness to oppression in all of its forms.


This volume may help to answer a charge, frequently levelled against the theory of recognition, namely that it is nothing more than a theory of minority rights or differentiated citizenship dressed up in fancy Hegelian costume.

"This collection will interest anyone involved in ongoing debates about the development of theories of recognition. Each chapter is of exemplary theoretical and rhetorical quality; collectively they constitute a valuable intervention across those areas of moral and political philosophy, social theory and anthropology that converge under this interdisciplinary banner."
(Jared Holley, Political Studies Review Volume 12, Issue 3, September 2014)


Part I: French contributions to recognition theory
1. Deepening critical theory: French contributions to theories of recognition
Miriam Bankovsky and Alice Le Goff
2. The relevance of contemporary French philosophy for a theory of recognition: An interview
Axel Honneth, interviewed by Miriam Bankovsky
Part II: Agonistic identity construction
3. Impossible recognition: Lacan, Butler, Zizek
Catherine Malabou
4. The politics of suffering and recognition: Foucault contra Honneth
Lois McNay
5. Sartre and Honneth on conflict and recognition
Alice Le Goff
6. Tully, Foucault and agonistic struggles over recogniton
David Owen
Part III: Embodiment and vulnerability
7. The theory of social action in Merleau-Ponty and Honneth
Jean-Philippe Deranty
8. Between gender and subjectivity: Iris Marion Young on the phenomenology of lived experience
Marie Garrau
Part IV: Systematic oppression and the productivity of power
9. Conflicts of recognition and critical sociology
Christian Lazzeri
10. Systematic misrecognition and the practice of critique: Bourdieu, Boltanski and the role of critical theory
Robin Celikates
Part V: Justice-to-come: questioning equality and the presumption of finality
11. Habermas and Derrida on recognising the other
Isabelle Aubert
12. Honneth, Lyotard, Levinas
Jean-Michel Salanskis
13. Justice-to-come in the work of Axel Honneth and Nancy Fraser
Miriam Bankovsky


Miriam Bankovsky is Lecturer in Political Theory for the Politics program at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia. Alice Le Goff is Assistant Professor in Social Philosophy at Université Paris Descartes (Paris 5).

Recognition theory and contemporary French moral and political philosophy

Edited by Miriam Bankovsky, Alice Le Goff

Paperback £29.95 / $42.95

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