Redistribution or Recognition?

Redistribution or Recognition?:A Political–Philosophical Exchange

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A debate between two leading theorists on the relation of redistribution to recognition

“Recognition” has become a veritable keyword of our time, but its relation to “redistribution” remains undertheorized. This volume remedies the lacuna by staging a sustained debate between two philosophers, one North American, the other European, who hold different views of the matter. Highly attuned to contemporary politics, the exchange between Nancy Fraser and Axel Honneth constitutes a rigorous dialogue on moral philosophy, social theory, and the best way to conceptualize capitalist society.


  • A carefully wrought and provocative debate between philosophers with strong commitments to asking what a more just social life might be. This text will doubtless produce a spate of new and important scholarship in critical theory in its wake.

    Judith Butler
  • In this exciting dialogue, Nancy Fraser and Alex Honneth do not simply explore with perfect conceptual rigor the analogies and tensions of the paradigms of ‘equal distributrion’ and ‘struggle for recognition.’ They also demonstrate why engaged theory matters for collective practice. Their speculative effort will set the agenda for transnational debates of vital importance.

    Etienne Balibar
  • In this fascinating volume, two of the major theorists of our time battle it out over the question of redistribution versus recognition. The stakes are high: how might a critical theory of capitalist society be revivified in a manner that unites philosophy, politics, and social theory. This is engaged theoretical debate of the highest level.

    Simon Critchley