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The Three Spheres Of Recognition

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Chapter Summary

This chapter presents the full image of Honneth's mature model of critical social theory. In particular, it concentrates on the three &t;spheres of recognition&t;. The "spheres of recognition" designate the three fundamental types of normative interactions which, according to Honneth, are necessary for modern subjects to develop their full autonomy. The first sphere of recognition relates to the establishment of the most basic conditions of subjective agency. The second and third spheres of recognition emerge directly out of a conceptual-normative reconstruction of the "shift to modernity" informed by the bulk of historiographical and sociological knowledge. The chapter aims at presenting Honneth's mature model of recognition. It is argued that this model retains a basic Bourdieuian inspiration. Like the great critical sociologist, Honneth thinks that social theory can maintain the idea of the centrality of class struggle by giving it a culturalist turn.

Keywords: critical social theory; Honneth; spheres of recognition



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