Pathologies of Recognition

According to the ‘recognition-theoretical’ tradition of thought attitudes and relations of intersubjective recognition (Anerkennung) are of fundamental constitutive significance for distinctively human psychological and social structures. They are also considered to be of fundamental significance for the good functioning of these structures, for the well-being of human persons, and for the moral or ethical quality of their relationships, characters, motives and actions. A great number of philosophers and psychologists working in this tradition therefore agree that humans have an inbuilt need for recognition. This widely agreed upon thought has however not been complemented or contrasted with a systematic account of reasons why recognition can be lacking. The project starts from the general premise that although humans need intersubjective recognition to exist and flourish as human persons individually and collectively, there are also universally human tendencies to repress or deny recognition, tendencies that are due to the specific kinds of vulnerabilities that recognition-dependence introduces. The extent to which these tendencies are realized in particular cases and contexts depends on various psychological, social and discursive factors. Building on the project-members’ internationally acknowledged previous work and expertise in philosophical recognition-theory, as well as their current work in psychoanalysis, political theory and social research, the aim of the project is to develop outlines of a systematic account of the reasons and dynamics of lack of, denial and rejection of recognition, and the psychological and social pathologies that may thereby follow. The project will strengthen the theoretical foundations of the recognition-theoretical paradigm in critical social theory and, by adding psychological realism and nuance to it, increase its use-value in psychoanalysis, political theory and the theory and practice of social work. The project’s cooperation partners include internationally leading philosophers, Finnish philosophers and theorists, and social work experts.

Hankkeen yleiskuvaus suomeksi (pptx)