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Rights to Recognition

Minority/Indigenous Politics in the Emerging Taiwanese Nationalism

Kun-hui Ku

The demand for rights to recognition among the indigenous activists in Taiwan was part of a larger movement for democratization before the lifting of martial law and was supported by international concurrence. The transfer of power from the Nationalist Party (KMT) regime to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) marks a rising consciousness of Taiwanese nationalism. By examining public discourses/rituals and the debates about the organizational reforms, I show how the changing perceptions and status of the indigenous population within the state are used to legitimize the new national identity. By examining the political processes involved in the politics of recognition, on the other hand, I also explore how the indigenous activists exploit to their advantage opportunities that have arisen during the national restructuring.

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Voicing past and present uncertainties

The relocation of a Soviet World War II memorial and the politics of memory in Estonia

Inge Melchior and Oane Visser

This article analyzes the politics of memory around the Estonian government’s decision to relocate Tallinn’s World War II memorial of a Soviet soldier. It shows why and how legitimizing national discourses resonated with and influenced personal narratives among ordinary Estonians. It also discusses discourses of Estonians who took a more critical stance on the relocation. The article argues that the dominant discourse in Estonia has been characterized by a notion of suffering and a search for recognition from the West, while turning its back to the East (Estonian Russians and Russia). In a similar vein, the relocation aimed at a breakaway from the Soviet past and its discourse, while at the same time reinforcing its perceived continuity. As such, the Estonian case gives insight into processes of remembering, amnesia, and the quest for recognition at the new border of the European Union, within a context of highly contentious minority politics.

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Coulthard, Glen Sean. Red Skin, White Masks

Rejecting the Colonial Politics of Recognition

Elaine Coburn

Coulthard, Glen Sean. Red Skin, White Masks: Rejecting the Colonial Politics of Recognition. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2014. ISBN: 978-0-8166-7965-2

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Anita Chari

Hegel’s concept of recognition has been taken up by a number of thinkers, including Axel Honneth, Robert Williams, and Charles Taylor, under the banner of “the politics of recognition,” which pro- poses to put the concept of recognition to use in the service of a theory of politics that can respond to the problems of group-based structural injustice and subordination. According to these thinkers, equal recognition and the possibility of undistorted forms of communicative agreement serve as the regulative ideal that governs the ever-expanding horizon of a community of autonomous, mutually affirming equals, in which, as Honneth writes, each person has “the chance to know that he or she is socially esteemed with regard to his or her abilities.”

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What's Love Got to Do with It?

The Race of Freedom and the Drag of Descent

Elizabeth A. Povinelli

As long as there was race, there was the savage. Tribes would come later as those who invented their descending lines and segmentable surfaces projected them into the classical past of gens and phatries. And as long as there were savages, there were infidels. Christianity, defeated in the old Jerusalem, established a New Jerusalem through conquest and settlement, conversion and genocide, enslavement and rectitude in the Americas and Pacific. Some savages would be bestowed with cultures and some religions with the power of enlightenment. And yet, in the shadow of the enlightenment project, all of these social figures and social histories seem to collapse into a unilinear process of historical descent—the Crusades begat voyages of discovery, which begat the problem of the twentieth century, namely, the color line and the international division of colonizer and colonizer, the North and the South, the East and the West, the politics of recognition and the refusals of secularism— and a univocal problem of race, racialization, and racism. Race seems to have begat race: what makes discourse of tribalism, racism, and the savage slot seem ‘the same’ and seem different than the national citizen/subject is that they are all the effect of the same razza (lineage). Their actual social divergences and specificities are bled out. “But he who listens to history finds that things have no pre-existing essence, or an essence fabricated piecemeal from alien forms” (Foucualt 1984: 78).