published on October 11, 2017
An Arendtian Recognitive Politics
"The Right to Have Rights" as a Performance of Visibility
Working with Hannah Arendt’s implicit argument about place and visibility, this article develops an account of recognition in order to rethink the nature of community. I argue for an Arendtian recognitive politics, a two-tiered account 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 another in that place. Claims such as Arendt’s “right to have rights” consequently understate the vital conditions of visibility and the role such visibility plays in the political sphere where agents are recognized as equals. The two-tiered account of recognition developed in this article allows me to argue that (1) the performance of visibility in relation to the recognition of one’s social identity is what in turn allows for (2) the possibility of recognizing one’s unique political identity in the political space.