Volume 72, 2018
Kurt Dauer Keller
The Dialectic of Recognition and Identity
Social recognition and social identity are closely related phenomena. Today we tend to understand them – with reference to Hegel – as a dialectical coherence, which is prominently the case in critical theory. However, the Hegelian dialectic did not survive after Hegel, and we now have two very different components of it that are both interesting as well as challenging. One is the figure of overall development of the entire society, which is predominant in the kind of dialectic thinking – and thus the notions of recognition and identity – to be found in critical theory. The other is the notion of concreteness that refers to the presence and density of historicity in our situated experience and contextual practices. The concreteness of recognition and identity, it is argued, is a topic of immediate sense and taken-for-granted meaning, i.e., of aisthesis and institution, which is more directly addressed in the corporeal phenomenology.