Res Publica

, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 325–348 | Cite as

On the Prospects for a Liberal Theory of Recognition

  • Sune lægaardEmail author


Multiculturalist theories of recognition consist of explanatory-descriptive social theoretical accounts of the position of the minorities whose predicaments the theories seek to address, together with normative principles generating political implications. Although theories of recognition are often based on illiberal principles or couched in illiberal-sounding language, it is possible to combine proper liberal principles with the kind of social theoretical accounts of minority groups highlighted in multiculturalism. The importance of ‘the social bases of self-respect’ in Rawls’s political liberalism is used to illustrate how a liberal theory of recognition might be constructed, and it is argued that such a theory can capture some, though not all, of the concerns of multiculturalism, even though the resulting ‘politics of recognition’ is neither a ‘politics of difference’ nor a kind of ‘identity politics’.


Anna Elisabetta Galeotti Charles Taylor John Rawls liberalism multiculturalism Nancy Fraser publicity recognition self-respect 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Philosophy Section, Department for Media, Cognition and CommunicationUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagen SDenmark

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