The Post-politics of Recognition in Hegemonic Struggles
The Road from the New Left Movements to the Crumbling of Liberal Hegemony
In the history of post-WWII Western emancipation movements, a marked shift took place from a liberation to a recognition paradigm. The latter embodies a distinctly post-political conceptualisation of social justice in its (re)formulation of the political with respect to the personal and with respect to social relations. As a result, recognition politics not only gives way to the fragmentation of justice claims, but also weaponises them against each other, as for instance ‘sexual and gender minority’ politics have expropriated crucial political arenas from feminist politics. These permutations of recognition politics are not the result of spontaneous, inevitable development, but that of political intervention devised to transform, neutralise, and absorb radical politics. Recognition politics has thus become a basic hegemonic strategy of transformism, consensus-building, and the forging of ‘common sense.’ Despite the mechanisms deployed to manage its internal contradictions (like the rainbow coalition and intersectionality), reinvigorated criticisms have blamed recognition politics for the crumbling of the current hegemony of liberalism. However, recognition seems to have been so deeply embedded in the social and cultural imagination that apparently neither internal critiques, nor the currently emerging counter-hegemonic projects can shake it off.
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