Demanding Recognition: Equality, Respect, and Esteem

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    This article argues that we must distinguish between two distinct currents in the politics of recognition, one centred on demands for equal respect which is consistent with liberal egalitarianism, and one which centres on demands for esteem made on behalf of particular groups which is at odds with egalitarian aims. A variety of claims associated with the politics of recognition are assessed and it is argued that these are readily accommodated within contemporary liberal egalitarian theory. It is argued that, pace Taylor, much of what passes for `identity' or recognition politics is driven by demands for equal respect, not by demands for esteem/affirmation. Given the inherently hierarchical nature of esteem recognition, no liberal state can consistently grant such recognition. Furthermore, these demands pose the risk of intensifying intergroup competition and chauvinism. Esteem recognition is valuable for individuals, but plays a problematic role for egalitarian politics.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)96-108
    Number of pages13
    JournalEuropean Journal of Political Theory
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2009

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Sociology and Political Science
    • Political Science and International Relations


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