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Meads Social Psychology

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Chapter Summary

The place of the Mead chapter in The Struggle for Recognition, at the exact centre of the book, is significant. Mead's social psychology constitutes the pivotal reference, as it buttresses Honneth's approach to the normativity of social life. But the perspective has shifted somewhat. In 1980 Mead provided the intersubjectivistic correction to Gehlen's theory of action. Honneth looks for the three spheres of recognition in Mead himself. The first sphere, that of intimacy, which Hegel located in the family, is not really to be found in Mead. By contrast, on Honneth's reading, Mead brings essential new elements to the conceptualisation of the second sphere, the sphere of rights and of the recognition of the individual's moral autonomy and responsibility. Finally, Mead's social psychology did not clearly separate aspects of the self that would correspond exactly to the second and third sphere of recognition.

Keywords: Honneth; Mead chapter; Mead's social psychology; moral autonomy; Struggle for Recognition



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