Misrecognition and ethno-religious diversity

Meer, Nasar and Martineau, Wendy and Thompson, Simon (2012) Misrecognition and ethno-religious diversity. Ethnicities, 12 (2). pp. 131-141. ISSN 1468-7968

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Abstract

In the 20 years since the publication of Charles Taylor’s essay on ‘The Politics of Recognition’ (Taylor, 1992) and Axel Honneth’s book Kampf um Anerkennung (see Honneth, 1995), there has been an incremental proliferation in literature tackling the concept of recognition. While sometimes conflated with related issues, especially concerning the politics of identity and difference, the politics of recognition has provided a distinctive and valuable perspective on the implications of a broad repertoire of sociological and political ‘differences’. This is because the idea of recognition has been employed not only as a normative concept of justice, but also as a means of understanding a range of phenomena, including the formation of individual psyches, the dynamics of political struggles, and the nature of moral progress (Seymour, 2010). As such, the politics of recognition has become a cornerstone in debates about the best way to respond to people’s desire to have their cultural particularities acknowledged, and has traversed a number of important issues: from the tension between individual freedom and group equality in multicultural societies, through the intersections between the multiple inequalities that permeate such societies, and the effects of recognition on individual psyche, to the nature of global justice. In short, the politics of recognition is an area of social and political theory that is characterized by lively debate about a range of important and topical issues (Thompson, 2006).