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The Desire to be Desired

Love is a relational emotion as central to the human condition as the need for physical sustenance.  It is an emotion inescapable in both public and private life, with much of popular entertainment devoted to romance and relationships. But its ubiquity is no guarantee of understanding – love is still viewed as a mysterious force […]

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Knowing Your Place Saving Face

The Stresses of Work

The workplace provides a fertile space for the relational world to weave its magic/unleash its misery. The set of relational senses – honour, respect, pride, envy, shame, humiliation, acceptance, belonging (some of the usual suspects) have a field day with the combination of close relationships, institutional hierarchy and the inevitable emphasis on relative status. As […]

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The Invisible Man, Part 3

The nature of social invisibility, a topic often ignored in intellectual circles, is starting to achieve some level of visibility for itself in the halls of academe. Much of this is a result of Axel Honneth’s pioneering work, an influence to the fore in a recent special edition of Distinktion: the Scandinavian Journal of Social […]

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In the Eye of the Beholder

The most serious criticism faced by Axel Honneth and his attempt to develop a critical theory of recognition, relates to the place of power relations vis-à-vis the relational world. In her book Against Recognition, Lois McNay argues that Honneth’s relational view of self-formation and social conflict negates more structural understandings of power. While not against […]

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The Significance of Respect

This post provides further commentary on the work of Axel Honneth (pictured), described in a previous post as a key influence on Dirty Looks. Dirty Looks is about 4 months old now, and over the coming months I intend to provide further clarification on the central ideas behind this site. One of them is the […]

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The Resistance to Recognition

  Axel Honneth, a key influence on Dirty Looks, has had a mixed reception in academic and intellectual circles. His position as Head of the Institute for Social Research (still known to some as the Frankfurt School), guarantees him some prestige and authority, but still many aren’t comfortable with his core ideas – specifically his […]