Volume 23, Issue 2, Fall 2019
Selfhood, Embodiment, Materiality
Recognition and Hospitality: Hegel and Derrida
This article imagines an alternative outcome to Hegel’s life-and-death struggle for recognition, one commensurate with Derrida’s critique of Hegel’s allegedly reserved negativity. Rather than pro-ducing lord and bondsman, the struggle is shown to be capable of producing a host and a guest, operating under the relation of hos-pitality. Pitt-Rivers’s reinterpretation of Boas’s classic ethnographic account of Inuit hospitality provides a model for the emergence of the alternative outcome. Derrida’s equation of deconstruction with hospitality illustrates its fundamental differences from Hegelian dialectics, expanding the significance of the struggle and its out-comes to the meaning of Hegel’s philosophy as a whole.