An ideology critique of recognition: Judith Butler in the context of the contemporary debate on recognition

Constellations 25 (3):474-484 (2018)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Judith Butler is often referred to as a thinker who disputes the positive view of recognition shared by many social and political philosophers today and advances a more "ambivalent" account of recognition. While I agree with this general characterization of Butler’s account, I think that it is not yet adequately understood what precisely makes recognition ambivalent for Butler. Usually, Butler is read as providing an ethical critique of recognition. According to this reading, Butler believes that it is important for persons to be recognized but that recognition is at the same time experienced as oppressive and hence is ethically ambivalent. Against this reading, I advance the view that Butler does not develop an ethical critique but rather an ideology critique of recognition. What makes recognition ambivalent for Butler is, as I will argue, that it can serve social functions behind the backs of the participants and be implicated in the reproduction of problematic social orders. I elaborate this argument by drawing on Butler’s analyses of the violent exclusion of genders that are not unambiguously male or female from the social realm, which, on my reading, is directly connected to the recognition of persons as male or female in everyday life.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 89,764

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Anerkennung, Subjektivität und Gesellschaftskritik.Titus Stahl - 2014 - Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie 62 (2):239-259.
Spinoza and the politics of renaturalization.Hasana Sharp - 2011 - Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
On Recognition.Kristina Sabikova - 2009 - Filozofia 64 (4):356-361.
Paul Ricœur and the Utopia of Mutual Recognition.Gonçalo Marcelo - 2011 - Études Ricoeuriennes / Ricoeur Studies 2 (1):110-133.
Impossible recognition : Lacan, Butler, Žižek.Catherine Malabou - 2012 - In Miriam Bankovsky & Alice Le Goff (eds.), Recognition Theory and Contemporary French Moral and Political Philosophy: Reopening the Dialogue. Distributed Exclusively in the Usa by Palgrave Macmillan.
Theorizing Recognition in Education.Charles Wayne Bingham - 1999 - Dissertation, University of Washington
Equality, Recognition and Difference.Peter Jones - 2006 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 9 (1):23-46.


Added to PP

102 (#155,387)

6 months
15 (#110,379)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Kristina Lepold
Goethe University Frankfurt