Let’sbegin with my motivation to choose the topic of Recognition and Redistribution. LGBTQ community protests for rights,Catalunya wanting independence from Spain, woman activists’ movements in Egypt– what are the common underlying demands of these movements happening acrossthe globe? They all want to be ‘recognized’for their individuality, they demand equality despite their differences. Ifit was social or class struggles that were prevalent in the Fordist era, thentoday, these struggles are under the banners of gender, ethnicity, sexuality,nationality and races.
They will continue to occupy the centre-stage in thefuture as well with these struggles of ‘differences’ being politicized. Thus, atopic which has led to the evolution of history (Class struggles – Marx’sperspective) and continues to shape the future with these present banners ofdifferences needs to be discussed at length. Theidea of recognition is an important idea in today’s world but how does it relateto economic redistribution? This question has remained unclear.
In the book ‘Redistributionor Recognition : A Political -philosophical exchange’, chapters are produced asdebates between the two philosophers Axel Honneth and Nancy Fraser. Honnethtreats redistribution as a derivative of the struggle for recognition whereasNancy does not believe that one can be derived from the other. She presents a ‘perspectivaldualist analysis’ where recognition and redistribution are fundamentallyrelated but mutually irreducible to each other and encompass a differentconception of justice. Thus, how will equality roll out despite the differencesamong individuals? How do we relate the struggle for economic redistribution tothe struggle for identity recognition? NancyFraser : There are two types of justice in the social context thatwe can talk of. One is the traditional one – the struggle for redistributionfrom the feudal lords to the workers, from the owners to the proletariat classand now from the rich to the poor. Today, in this society, we have increasinginstances of the demand for a different form of social justice – demanding dignityor respect on par with the majority. Instances being the feminist movements,LGBTQ movements across the globe. These claims for recognition are beginning todominate the first form of social justice – redistribution.
This ideology ofredistribution is starting to take a backseat with the slow death of communismand the progressive development of free-markets. These two forms are consideredseparate from each other.