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Recognition After Mead: The Recent Writings

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Chapter Summary

A number of shifts have changed the overall direction of Honneth's thinking. This chapter attempts to highlight these shifts and outlines some of their most important implications for Honneth's project of a viable renewal of critical theory. In a series of recent texts Honneth has sharpened his sociological, critical diagnosis of contemporary capitalism. The overall structural shift that occurs with neo-liberal policies has distinct effects in the four normative spheres highlighted by the theory of recognition. By exploiting the discourse of individual freedom to its own advantage, modern capitalism manages to justify its current practices and make them appear as adhering to the ethical self-understanding of contemporary society. A major direction in Honneth's recent work has resulted from his further exploration of the interactionist paradigm in contemporary psychoanalysis. With Mead now dropped from Honneth's central model, object-relations theory becomes the central reference in Honneth's social philosophy.

Keywords: contemporary capitalism; Critical Theory tradition; Honneth; interactionist psychology; Mead; neo-liberal policies; social philosophy



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