, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 93-106

Statelessness and the Politics of Misrecognition

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Abstract

This article focuses on the account of disrespect found in Honneth’s theory of recognition. In it, I am particularly interested in the form of misrecognition or disrespect which is the negation of respect, and which is clearly represented by statelessness. Respect, for Honneth, is closely connected to legal recognition. Guided by Honneth’s view of critical theory as ‘not entirely without a foundation in social reality’, the article puts together an analysis of the political dynamics of his model of disrespect. This analysis is used to challenge certain aspects of Honneth’s political theory and in particular the implications of his conception of the state. The article argues that the way in which the state is used has the effect of obscuring significant political obstacles to recognition, and in particular, the way in which the state limits respect.