Dissertation, University of Alberta (2015)

Yasemin Sari
University of Northern Iowa
In this dissertation, I undertake a critical analysis of the conception of community at work in what is termed “identity-based politics.” Working with Hannah Arendt’s implicit argument about place and visibility, I develop a theory of recognition in order to rethink the nature of community. The ultimate aim of my project develops a recognitive politics, a two-tiered theory of recognition, which takes into account social identities as the condition of possibility for the free political action that so animated Arendt. If we require a place to act freely, in other words, we are visible to one another in that place. My theory of recognition aims to illustrate that traditional philosophical accounts of self-disclosure in political action (including those of Hegel, Marx, and Arendt) do not aim to offer a pure political agency stripped of social identities. Such an understanding of the political as the self-disclosure of our unique identities is possible only if social identities are granted visibility and the possibility of being heard in the first place. Claims such as Arendt’s “right to have rights” consequently understate this vital condition of visibility. In turn, I argue that the condition of “artificial equality” arises from its spatial aspect. The link between visibility and the “right to have rights” is crucial in establishing the conditions of a non-violent and non-identity-based politics. On my view, ‘recognitive politics’ is based on epistemic responsibility in political judgment, which becomes a reflection of our responsibility to affirm plural human existence in the world.
Keywords Hannah Arendt  Recognition  Freedom  Political Space  Revolution  Democratic Responsibility  Epistemic Responsibility  Factual truths  Right to have rights
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