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Identity, Exclusion, and Critique : A Response to Four Critics
Nancy Fraser European Journal of Political Theory 2007 6: 305 DOI: 10.1177/1474885107077319 The online version of this article can be found at:

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Identity, Exclusion, and Critique
A Response to Four Critics
Nancy Fraser
New School for Social Research, USA

European Journal of Political Theory
© SAGE Publications Ltd, Los Angeles, London, New Delhi and Singapore issn 1474-8851, 6(3) 305–338 [DOI: 10.1177/1474885107077319]

a b s t r a c t : In this article I reply to four critics. Responding to Linda Alcoff, I contend that my original two-dimensional framework discloses the entwinement of economic and cultural strands of subordination, while also illuminating the dangers of identity politics. Responding to James Bohman, I maintain that, with the addition of the third dimension of representation, my approach illuminates the structural exclusion of the global poor, the relation between justice and democracy, and the status of comprehensive theorizing. Responding to Nikolas Kompridis, I defend a view of recognition that prioritizes the critique of institutionalized injustice. Responding to Rainer Forst, I argue that such a critique is better formulated in participation-theoretic than justification-theoretic terms. k e y w o r d s : critique, global poverty, justice, participation, recognition, redistribution, representation, structural exclusion

My contribution to Redistribution or Recognition? was Janus-faced, pointing simultaneously in two directions, one theoretical, the other political. On the one hand, I proposed a new conceptual framework for critical theory, which linked a socialtheoretical analysis of subordination to a moral-philosophical account of injustice. On the other hand, I offered a Zeitdiagnose of the present historical conjuncture and sought to intervene in it politically. These two faces were internally related. My theoretical framework encompassed both a distributive dimension, oriented to class inequalities, and a recognition dimension, oriented to status hierarchies. Thus, it made a political point. By insisting on two-dimensional conceptions of subordination and injustice, I sought to encourage a shift away from a one-sided politics of recognition, which ignored political economy, toward an integrated politics of redistribution and recognition. Each of the articles collected here concerns one face of this Janus construction. Linda Alcoff and James Bohman respond primarily to the political face: whereas Alcoff questions my critique of identity politics, Bohman claims that I neglect the structural exclusion of the global poor. In contrast, Rainer Forst and Nikolas
Contact address: Nancy Fraser, Department of Political Science, The New School for Social Research, 65 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10003, USA. Email:


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European Journal of Political Theory 6(3) Kompridis respond primarily to the theoretical face: whereas Forst questions my participation-theoretic conception of justice, Kompridis objects more generally to its discourse-theoretical underpinnings. Each article raises an important set of challenges to my approach. While I cannot provide an extended response to every point, I shall clarify the principal stakes, both theoretical and political.

2. Identity or Status? A Rejoinder to Alcoff
Let me begin with the political face of my Janus construction, which is the primary focus of Alcoff and Bohman. At first sight, my differences with both authors seem great. Upon closer inspection, however, some apparent disagreements dissolve into semantic confusions; others turn on misapprehensions of my position; and still others stem from reliance on early formulations that have since been revised. Only by dispelling these misunderstandings can we get a handle on what remains in the way of real disagreements. In the case of Alcoff, misunderstandings loom large. Her article is premised upon the assumption that I want to separate redistribution and recognition. Yet exactly the opposite is true. Readers of Redistribution or Recognition? will recall that I diagnosed the decoupling of those two indispensable dimensions of justice as a deeply disturbing feature of the ‘postsocialist’ era. Arguing that the dissociation of difference-affirming recognition struggles from egalitarian redistributive struggles is conceptually inadequate and politically disabling, I sought to foster their integration. Given that this was the central political aim of my intervention, why does Alcoff reverse my meaning? The key, I think, lies in her insistence on treating analytical distinctions as if they were substantive. Thus, Alcoff maps my distinction between redistribution and recognition directly onto real-world instances of subordination. Claiming that I align the domination of labor, the poor, and welfare claimants exclusively with maldistribution, she herself equates the oppression of women, minorities, and homosexuals exclusively with misrecognition. The result is a seemingly unbridgeable divide, as struggles against class injustices now appear to have no proper recognition dimension, while struggles against sexism, racism, and heterosexism now seem to have nothing to do with political economy. In Redistribution or Recognition?, however, I explicitly rejected those alignments. Arguing for a ‘perspectivalist’ understanding of redistribution and recognition, I proposed instead to analyze all real-world instances of subordination as involving both dimensions of (in)justice. Far from separating class inequalities from status hierarchies, I developed a set of analytical distinctions for theorizing their mutual entwinement. At the same time, these distinctions supplied the conceptual basis for criticizing present-day political culture, which tends to decouple struggles for recognition from struggles for redistribution. Hardly originating with me, then, the separation of which Alcoff complains is of her own making. Another source of misunderstanding is terminological. In Alcoff’s article,


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she refers to virtually any movement that draws on or performatively constructs a shared identity. by omitting cases of identity politics proper. the phrase ‘identity-based struggles’ seems to denote a wide berth of campaigns.sagepub. are struggles aimed at valorizing allegedly group-specific attributes or identities. Conversely. often as a means to securing redistribution and/or representation. and. and access to welfare provision. such claims tend to occlude political economy and to displace struggles for redistribution. Above and beyond the equivo- 307 Downloaded from ept. let alone instances of ethnonationalism. Alcoff also uses the expression ‘identity-based movements’ in two additional senses. Exclusion. she refers specifically to movements of women. unrestricted sense. or gay identity politics. campaigns for social rights. such as those waged by the Puerto Rican Political Action Committee. Far from claiming that sort of affirmative recognition. 2011 . whose drawbacks I really did analyze. the National Abortion Rights Action League. culturalist view of society. In Alcoff’s usage. and struggles for greater political participation and representation. Throughout her article. The result is a missed encounter. Contesting institutionalized inferiorization.Fraser: Identity. pay equity. With this terminological slippage from ‘identity politics’ to ‘identity-based struggles’. Alcoff never directly engages my two central arguments: first. the National Council of La Raza. she fails to interrogate struggles for affirmative recognition. A fortiori. But what she intends by that expression is not at all what I meant to criticize. and gays and lesbians. oppressed minorities. In a second. Black nationalism. which subtends her entire argument. To compound the difficulties. Skewing her account to struggles for universalist recognition. she presents herself as a defender and me as a critic of ‘identity-based struggles’. Alcoff’s ‘identity-based struggles’ seek universalist recognition. This terminology conceals a major equivocation. and the National Organization of at Universitaetsbibliothek on November 23. Alcoff misstates our differences. Among the examples she cites are struggles aimed at overcoming discrimination. Invoking a first. however. An example is her repeated use of the expression ‘identity-based struggles or movements’ in place of the more common ‘identity politics’. Altogether missing. in other words. is the absence of any examples of ‘identity politics’ in the usual sense. such as those conducted by the National Welfare Rights Organization. second. she casts me as an opponent of movements that I never criticized. that claims for recognition that are cast in identitarian terms are liable to devolve into repressive communitarianism. and Critique semantic slippages connected with the term ‘identity’ sow the seeds of conceptual confusion. sectarian religious communitarianism. Failing to confront the hard cases. What is striking about this list. she never provides any grounds for rejecting those arguments. There are no instances of cultural feminism. such as those waged by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the major US civil rights organizations of the 1950s and 1960s. that insofar as they presuppose a false. restricted sense. or patriarchal neo-traditionalism. they seek to unburden subordinated groups of excessive ascribed and essentialized difference. despite its apparent breadth.

European Journal of Political Theory 6(3) cation. it does not succeed in meaningfully distinguishing some movements from others. aimed at securing equal respect for common humanity. each of these uses of ‘identity-based movements’ is problematic in and of itself. while the express focus is something else. Meanwhile. which cut across social movements. Encompassing any movement that draws on or performatively constructs a shared identity. Affirmative claims represent appropriate responses to harms resulting from the institutionalized neglect of relevant differences – as. that they are categorically different from class struggles. If we apply my perspectivalist conception. to call a movement ‘identity based’ in the unrestricted sense is effectively to state a tautology. one can apply both perspectives of (in)justice to all social struggles.sagepub. oppressed minorities. rooted simultaneously in the status order and political economy of capitalist society. affirmative claims. Alcoff’s unrestricted use of ‘identity-based movements’ is equally problematic. rooted in relations of (mis)recognition. In that way. when the African National Congress opposed apartheid in the name of ‘nonracial’ democratic citizenship. aimed at valorizing presumptive group specificity. but remains. The result is a loss of moral-philosophical insight. as I have noted. when feminists contested androcentric legal understandings of selfdefense that did not accommodate typical forms of women’s resistance to 308 Downloaded from ept. To reserve this expression for movements of women. Because this sense encompasses every conceivable social movement. In whichever sense we understand it. 2011 . Every social movement mobilizes or creates an identity of some sort or another. Alcoff’s terminology obfuscates normative differences among recognition claims. for example. What is overlooked here is that each such claim represents an appropriate response to a different genre of misrecognition. Writing indiscriminately of ‘identity-based movements’. This is so even in cases in which the movement’s identity is not an explicit stake of struggle. and deconstructive claims. These implications are false. Thus. while heterosexism has significant distributive consequences. so to speak. From this it would follow that racism. moreover. we will see that racism and sexism are two-dimensional axes of subordination. in the background. and gays and lesbians is to imply that these movements have an exclusive or privileged relation to the politics of recognition. sexism. To ‘culturalize’ these axes of subordination is to truncate the injustices at issue. such as overcoming maldistribution or misrepresentation. playing into the hands of those who would minimize them. The restricted use is conceptually inadequate and politically disabling. aimed at destabilizing symbolic oppositions that underlie existing group differentiations. for example. and heterosexism are at bottom identity-based forms of subordination. this usage is too broad to do any real analytical work. Universalist claims respond appropriately to injustices arising from the institutionalized denial of common humanity – as. A better approach is to treat maldistribution and misrecognition as analytically distinct power asymmetries. as opposed to relations of at Universitaetsbibliothek on November 23. she collapses the differences between universalist claims.

Fraser: Identity. which integrate redistribution. they make it possible to assess the normative validity and political warrantability of recognition claims. recognition. I proposed a via media between affirmation and transformation. and Critique domestic assault. to reify group identities.2 Castells’s distinction bears on the question I just raised: which types of movement can best resist the tendency to reify difference and displace political economy? And his answer dovetails with my own: movements organized to valorize ascribed specificity are far more susceptible to those pathologies than those whose identity-aspect derives from a project of social transformation. That said. from those that mobilize ‘project identities’. and on the need for distinctions to answer it. it is not the case. I maintained that transformative strategies were generally better than affirmative ones. provide our best hope for overcoming injustice in the present constellation. when ‘mixed-race’ people contest census categories that force them to choose a single line of ancestry and to deny all others. deconstructive claims are in order when an injustice results from the imposition of simple systems of binary classification on complex experiences and lived realities – as. are most susceptible to those temptations? On the importance of this question. by clarifying whether a proposed reform would reduce disparities in participation. 2011 . In conjunction with the principle of participatory parity. they help us determine whether the proposal is warranted. Inspired by André 309 Downloaded from ept. Manual Castells. Exclusion. These distinctions allow us to pose. I came to appreciate that the distinction is not absolute. and to encourage separatism. these distinctions help us decide whether the associated recognition claim is justified. The latter movements. He usefully distinguishes movements organized to defend embattled ascriptive identities. as full partners in social interaction. Here. Finally. these distinctions enlarge our capacities of moral and political judgment. but contextual. Given that misrecognition is a bona fide injustice that cannot be overcome indirectly. however. that I am unrelievedly hostile to affirmative recognition and unqualifiedly enamored of transformative recognition. and representation. which recognition strategies are politically advisable? Which are least likely to reify group differences and displace struggles for redistribution? And which. Elaborated in Redistribution or Recognition?. a key political question of the present age.1 Likewise. But that is not at Universitaetsbibliothek on November 23. conversely. whom Alcoff cites in support of her view. as they are less likely to promote backlash against the beneficiaries. such as negritude or femininity. through difference-blind struggles for redistribution. for example. agrees in reality with me. Reforms that appear to be affirmative in the abstract can have transformative effects in some contexts – provided they are radically and consistently pursued. such as environmentalism or feminism. she relies on the account proposed in a 1995 article.3 Later. as Alcoff suggests. In Redistribution or Recognition?. therefore. which I explicitly revised in the 2003 book. Enabling us to determine whether an institutionalized norm denies some people the chance to participate on a par with others. and answer. In the early account.

it understands misrecognition structurally. the foregoing suggests a continuing preference for transformative recognition as a goal.4 Joining the practicability of affirmation with the radical thrust of transformation. A case in point is her account of labor market segmentation. the status model of misrecognition can be harnessed to a deontological theory of justice. unconstrained by relations of domination. while also setting in motion a trajectory of change in which more radical reforms become practicable over time. This second argument holds that we don’t always need to decide now whether existing group distinctions should be affirmed or deconstructed. First. Although I am more concerned than she is about the risks surrounding difference-affirming identity claims. this view is at Universitaetsbibliothek on November 23. causing her to misunderstand my account of misrecognition as status subordination. as grounded not in interpersonal failures of mutual regard. What is crucial now is that we strive to bequeath them a society in which the choice can be made freely. in my view. Located at the intersection of maldistribution and misrecognition. a point to which I will return in replying to Kompridis. which currently underpin existing group distinctions. but rather in institutionalized patterns of cultural value. Second. with respect to the choice between affirmative and transformative recognition. too. In many cases.sagepub. the status model grasps the imbrication of maldistribution and misrecognition – and thus allows for an integrated analysis of those two intertwined orders of subordination. my reservations are neither categorial nor absolute. thereby leaving the latter to stand or fall on their own perceived merits. 2011 .European Journal of Political Theory 6(3) Gorz’s idea of ‘nonreformist reforms’. Certainly. by Alcoff’s examples. Alcoff also overstates our disagreements on another issue of central importance: namely. Properly understood. rather than refuted. which represents racialized strata as ascriptive class segments that can be exploited more cheaply than majority segments. this approach advocates policies that can engage people’s identities and satisfy some of their needs as interpreted within existing frameworks of recognition and distribution. that decision is better left to future generations. This account is useful. But another argument I made in Redistribution or Recognition? is expressly agnostic on this point. the case of ascriptive class segments is well explained by it. But far from telling against my framework. the entwinement of misrecognition with maldistribution. these formations arise when a racialized hierarchy of cultural value is institutionalized in the political economy. this strategy effectively combines the best of both worlds. 310 Downloaded from ept. even in the absence of attitudinal prejudice. In this case. my differences with Alcoff are not as great as she makes out. by directing attention to value patterns institutionalized in political economy. That account is superior to the standard identity model on at least three grounds.5 Thus. This requires dismantling institutionalized status hierarchies. Finally. while acknowledging the possible usefulness of affirmative recognition as a means. in part because it provides a structural explanation of the incentive for outsourcing. her ‘identity’ language leads her astray. which regulate social interaction in ways that impede parity of participation.

the emergence of an aggressively marketizing neoliberalism. Here. Why. Alcoff assumes that the owners must be outsourcing production to less expensive racialized workers in the developing world. It is not the case that my approach leads away from an integrated analysis of class inequality and status hierarchy. some conceptual. 2011 . does Alcoff imagine that her example constitutes an argument against me? The reason. In general. 261) Add the qualification I inserted in brackets and substitute the term ‘status’ for ‘identity’. that all forms of maldistribution are as directly entwined with misrecognition as Alcoff claims. and degree of organization among the workers. then. To clarify cases like this one. ascriptive class segments serve as textbook illustrations of my two-dimensional account of subordination. a progressive politics 311 Downloaded from ept. At the same time. . to financial speculation. Exclusion. She writes: Segmentation has occurred since the inception of capitalism through identity markers . So far. then. however. I have posited a shift in the language of political claimsmaking ‘from redistribution to recognition’. Noting the relative eclipse of movements for egalitarian redistribution by identity-centered struggles for recognition. which is vastly exacerbating inequality on a global scale. which concerns our respective diagnoses of the times. I have concentrated on dispelling Alcoff’s misunderstandings – some semantic.Fraser: Identity. In that at Universitaetsbibliothek on November 23. But that is not the only possibility. there are no economic mechanisms operating with complete independence from identity hierarchies. My own Zeitdiagnose foregrounds the current grammar of social conflict. Alcoff’s central claim does not stand up. It does not follow. the resulting maldistribution is not directly tied to misrecognition. by conceiving distribution and recognition as two intertwined orders of subordination. accordingly. Compounds of status and class. (p. Insisting that the resulting maldistribution is ‘identity based’. I have noted that the rise of identity politics coincides with a broader historical development. profitability. one needs a two-dimensional framework that accommodates both the mutual irreducibility of status and class and the causal relations between them. identity hierarchies [are among the factors that] determine costs. . Consider the equally plausible scenario in which the owners shift their capital away from production altogether. as well as those Alcoff envisions. and I myself could have written these sentences. Recall the example I cited in Redistribution or Recognition? of a white male industrial worker who becomes unemployed due to a factory closing that results from a speculative corporate merger. Now I turn to the point of real disagreement between us. is another case in which a terminological confusion magnifies or creates a disagreement. On the contrary. some textual. this framework provides the basis for such an analysis. Under these conditions.sagepub. is that she persists in using the term ‘identity’. where ‘status’ would be much more clear. and Critique specifically in transnational markets in labor power. I suspect.

Only if we are unafraid to criticize both progressive and regressive forces can we keep faith with the young Marx’s vision of critical theory as ‘the self-clarification of the struggles and wishes of the age’. as if they typified the present era. In her view. Also absent is any hint of the worldwide co-opting of labor and socialdemocratic parties into the politics of the Third Way. accordingly. asking whether the extant grammar of political claimsmaking provides an adequate basis for contesting injustice in the present conjuncture. on the other. they do not. my diagnosis of the times is at Universitaetsbibliothek on November 23. and very low wages and precarious employment. I take a broader view of the tasks of critical theory. two decades of preoccupation with identitarian variants of the politics of recognition left progressive movements woefully unprepared for the dramatic alteration of the political landscape following 9/11. Nor is there any clue as to why. 2011 . To the extent that it neglects political economy. On Political Exclusion: A Rejoinder to Bohman Let me turn now to James Bohman’s article.European Journal of Political Theory 6(3) centered largely on recognition cannot succeed.sagepub. on the one hand. however. In addition. it is not enough to explain the forms of social subordination that permeate our world. Unfortunately. Here.6 Here lies my real disagreement with Alcoff. certainly. In replying to Alcoff. I could appeal with no qualifications to the Zeitdiagnose that informed my contribution to Redistribution or Recognition? In 312 Downloaded from ept. Alcoff’s readers would never guess. which also concerns the political face of my framework. but for different reasons. often using the former to mask the latter. if emancipatory movements are already successfully integrating claims for redistribution and recognition. necessary as that task surely is. which showcases emancipatory struggles that successfully integrate redistribution and recognition. at any rate. which combines progressive recognition policies with neoliberal economic policies. such as reduced taxes on corporations and the wealthy. for example. In my view. the current left strategy is just fine as it is.7 2. Subscribing to a darker Zeitdiagnose than she does. is how I read her intervention. one must interrogate political culture. that rightwing Republicans in the United States regularly succeed in convincing working class people that the threat to their family life comes not from neoliberal economic policies. and presumptively progressive identitarian movements. For me. conservatives consistently manage to divert attention from their regressive distributive policies by playing the so-called values card. such a politics cannot effectively challenge either the depredations of free-market policies or the profusion of rightwing chauvinisms that arise in their wake. In the United States. Alcoff rejects this Zeitdiagnose. Airbrushed out of Alcoff’s picture are the rising tide of regressive chauvinisms. but rather from abortion rights and gay marriage. This requires that critical theorists maintain their independence from the social movements with which they sympathize. That. too. a new progressive strategy is sorely needed. diminished social-welfare and consumer protections.

from the circle of those entitled to a just distribution 313 Downloaded from ept. Problematizing the Westphalian constitution of political space. As I now understand it. Put simply. it tells us who is included. I maintain that an adequate theory of justice must be threedimensional. in contrast. the Westphalian framing of political space tended to go without saying. I could see that post-Fordism and postcommunism had ruptured that paradigm. Today. they took for granted that the ‘who’ was the national citizenry. mere subtexts of distributive problems. Writing in the 1990s. which allows us to problematize both the division of political space into bounded polities and the decision rules operating within them. What I did not fully understand was that these same developments were also problematizing the Westphalian political imaginary. releasing political conflicts over status. which I no longer consider sufficiently radical. The reason for this has to do with a further shift in the grammar of political claimsmaking. such disputes raise the suggestion that justice may require decision-making in a different frame. in order to engage the issues raised by Bohman. at Universitaetsbibliothek on November 23. which had shunted political claims into the redistributionist channels of the Keynesian welfare state in the decades following World War II. I need to extend that diagnosis. Exclusion.Fraser: Identity. which had framed struggles for justice of every kind in the preceding period. representation furnishes the stage on which struggles over distribution and recognition are played out. Focused largely on the ‘what’ of justice (redistribution or recognition?). Whether the issue is immigration or indigenous land claims. Establishing criteria of political membership. I sought to integrate both dimensions in a broader theory of social justice. beyond that from redistribution to recognition. and who excluded. Under these conditions. I must explain this deeper change. the Westphalian frame is intensely contested. I failed to grasp their full implications for the theory of justice. to be subject to debate within national publics. as arguments about justice were assumed to concern relations among fellow citizens. Henceforth. redistribution and recognition must be related to representation. which was neglected in my previous work.sagepub. Previously. global warming or the ‘war on terror’. disputes about what is owed as a matter of justice to community members now turn quickly into disputes about who should count as a member and which is the relevant community. and to contemplate redress by territorial states. As a result. and Critique replying to Bohman. without minimizing the importance of distribution. Both those dimensions of justice must be resituated in relation to a third aspect of social normativity. my redistribution–recognition model responded to the destabilization of the social-democratic paradigm. the thesis of a shift from redistribution to recognition captured one aspect of a deeper change in the circumstances of justice. which had previously been relegated to the margins. Wishing to embrace what was emancipatory in the new struggles for recognition. neither distribution nor recognition can be properly understood without explicit reference to the problem of the frame. in contrast. Muslim headscarves or the terms of trade. and the effect it has had on my thinking. 2011 . Understood in this way. Today.

Thus he contends that I betray my own democratic commitments by seeking an all-embracing account of injustice. therefore. second. The difficulty. and representation clarifies the situation of today’s global poor. I have sought to clarify forms and levels of injustice that were not adequately comprehended by my original theory. my revised framework analyzes contemporary struggles over globalization as struggles against misframing. Bohman faults me for failing to achieve it. this form of political injustice is now being challenged by globalization activists. Bohman rejects the very idea of comprehensive theorizing. Under the rubric of representation. but political. Institutionalized in the Westphalian constitution of political space. that a critical theory can (and should) aspire to comprehensiveness without sacrificing its commitments to plurality and democracy. alongside the (economic) dimension of redistribution and the (cultural) dimension of recognition. 2011 . that the three-dimensional framework of redistribution. constitutes a third. it points to yet another class of obstacles to justice: neither economic nor cultural. I begin with the question of structural exclusion. misframing arises when first-order disputes about justice are framed in a way that wrongly excludes some from consideration – as when the national framing of distributive conflicts forecloses the claims of the global poor. Representation. Understandably. recognition. that the principle of participatory parity serves as well to clarify the relation between justice and democracy. stems from my principle of participatory parity. So he also argues that my framework fails to grasp a core inequity of the present order. fourth. that the conception of justice as parity of participation affords an illuminating account of structural exclusion. A species of misrepresentation. Such. Bohman cites it as proof that the conception of justice as 314 Downloaded from ept. he contends. Aiming to illuminate the present conjuncture. the structural exclusion of the global poor. Bohman directs his criticisms to the two-dimensional framework of Redistribution or Recognition? But my recent work shows that the conception of justice as participatory parity can be expanded to deal satisfactorily with the issues he raises.9 The incorporation of representation into my framework bears directly on two of the issues raised by Bohman: the value of comprehensive theorizing about justice and the structural exclusion of the global poor. is the thinking that has led me to revise my framework since the publication of Redistribution or Recognition?8 By incorporating the dimension of representation. Alleging that this injustice eludes my framework. at any rate. accordingly. To respond.sagepub. Thematizing boundary-making as a vehicle of exclusion. representation enables us to pose the question of the frame. Yet even as he rejects the aspiration. I shall draw on my revised theory to defend four theses: first.European Journal of Political Theory 6(3) and reciprocal recognition. then. third. which is inferior to his own notion of the democratic minimum for dealing with questions of political injustice. and. political dimension of justice. Deeming the former incompatible with pluralism and at Universitaetsbibliothek on November 23. I have drawn on the political dimension in order to conceptualize a type of meta-injustice that I call ‘misframing’. Specifying the reach of those other dimensions.

In fact. structural exclusion can take a plurality of different forms. Being excluded. structural exclusion is a grave moral wrong. including family and personal life. In a second scenario. Those who are excluded. while enjoying the cultural and material prerequisites for participating meaningfully (if not fully equally) in family life. is what Hegel had in mind when he wrote of ‘the rabble’. a possibility that contrasts sharply with more ‘ordinary’ sphere-specific exclusions. it can also be effected by a variety of means.10 In principle.11 If exclusion can take a variety of forms. exclusion is grounded in political economy. But what exactly are the excluded excluded from? In my framework. as when the institutionalization of a hierarchical 315 Downloaded from ept. In other cases. In such cases. this principle entails that social arrangements that institutionalize obstacles to parity of participation are unjust. Exclusion. But anyone who is structurally excluded from participation in social interaction is eo ipso denied the possibility of participating as a peer. across all major arenas of social interaction. This. moreover. Historically. the norm of parity of participation applies broadly. formal and informal politics. employment and markets. even in contexts where some of them have had access to decently remunerated work. however. including the right to exist. Homosexuals. My original framework envisioned three possibilities. it is very severe. On my account.Fraser: Identity. As denials of parity go. are not even in the game. depending on which arenas are affected. although they cannot do so as peers. as when economic structures deny some categories of social actors even the minimal economic resources that are needed for marginalized or subordinated interaction. exclusion remains contained within a given sphere or subset of spheres and does not spill over into others. by contrast. is considerably worse than being included but marginalized or being included in a subordinate way. in contrast. and voluntary associations in civil society. in both its original and revised forms. a class of persons is systematically stripped of participation rights in sphere after sphere until they are denied the right to have any rights at all. On the view of justice as participatory parity. In one scenario. however. Thus. In such cases. exclusion is highly convertible. many women have lacked the standing and resources to participate in official politics. and Critique participatory parity is incomplete. spreading freely from sphere to sphere. structural exclusion is well comprehended by my approach. 2011 . after all. I take it. one need only unfold the conceptual logic of the principle of participatory parity as I presented it in Redistribution or Recognition? As we saw.sagepub. Those who are marginalized or subordinated can still participate with others in social interaction. structural exclusion is an injustice because it represents a denial of participatory parity. To see why. have until very recently lacked the standing to participate openly in sexual relations and family at Universitaetsbibliothek on November 23. whose convertibility is far more limited. one can be excluded from some of these arenas and not from others. We need only recall the Nazi treatment of Jews to appreciate the possibility of total and radical exclusion. Such cases attest to the possibility of extreme and wholesale exclusion. exclusion is rooted in the status order. therefore. therefore.

2011 . what is needed is transformative representation. what is required is transformative recognition. This is how Max Weber understood the situation of ethnically constituted pariah groups. exclusion arises from the combined operation of culture and political economy. which reframes the constitution of political space. This. Wherever exclusion is grounded deeply. This. which remains a violation of justice. it is conceivable that in overcoming structural exclusion. this account remains insightful as far as it goes. This formula applies as much to exclusion as to subordination. however. and representation affords what is needed for this purpose: a differentiated view of the many types and levels of exclusion that afflict diverse populations in contexts of 316 Downloaded from ept. Contra Bohman. the general formula for remedying injustice is removing institutionalized obstacles to at Universitaetsbibliothek on November 23. my framework distinguishes affirmative from transformative remedies for injustice. one could end up with social subordination. the view of justice as participatory parity does afford an account of structural exclusion.12 In a third scenario. my framework provides a broad but differentiated view of this injustice. which alters the basic structures of the political economy. which restructures the status order. on my analysis.sagepub. is the situation of today’s global poor. as when status hierarchies map onto class differentials to prevent some actors from participating at all in mainstream arenas of social interaction. But does this approach clarify the situation of the global poor? My second thesis is that the three-dimensional framework of redistribution. In my framework. while also accommodating transformative strategies for overcoming it. only deep restructuring will suffice to overcome it. what is needed is some transformative combination of redistribution. what is needed is transformative redistribution. In one additional scenario. exclusion is rooted jointly in all three dimensions of social ordering. recognition. To my mind. As already noted. In mixed cases. In a second additional scenario. In culturally rooted cases. that would be a step in the right direction.European Journal of Political Theory 6(3) pattern of cultural value denies some the chance even for second-class participation in some arenas. I want to consider what it would take to overcome structural exclusion. and representation. exclusion is grounded in the political constitution of society. Nevertheless. it can be extended to encompass two more possibilities. then. however. in basic societal structures. finally. Comprehending multiple arenas and sources of exclusion. On the contrary. I shall argue shortly. First. I submit. With the incorporation of representation. This distinction applies here as well. recognition. is the situation of some indigenous peoples in settler societies. In cases of politically rooted exclusion. cultural. as when the architecture of political space denies some people the chance to have even a marginal say in disputes about justice. as when economic. This is the situation of undocumented immigrants in many countries. In cases of economically rooted exclusion. dismantling obstacles that prevent participation altogether is not the same thing as assuring full parity of participation. and political structures work together to obstruct participation. moreover. as well as of Romany people in East/ Central Europe. Granted.

as well as with a shift in transnational sex tourism toward child prostitution in the wake of the global HIV/AIDS epidemic. states. is make efficacious claims against the offshore architects of their dispossession. Exclusion. is the devastation of Tanzanian shore communities as a result of the introduction of large-scale. despite having been disconnected involuntarily from the official production circuits of the global economy. which set exploitative terms of interaction and then exempt them from democratic control. which spread unhindered from one arena of social interaction to another.13 Another example. Among those shielded from the reach of justice are more powerful predator states and transnational private powers. One example is the sexual enslavement of girls sold by impoverished parents to Thai brothels. transnational-corporate perch fishing in Lake Victoria. and Critique accelerated globalization. when processes that operate at different scales intersect – as. if not wholly failed. As I noted. those suffering from global poverty retain capacities for (subordinated) participation in some arenas – witness the situation of former copper miners in Zambia who. But the absence of formal institutional channels of democratic transnational politics does not mean the absence of all contestation. authoritarian federal government to claims against transnational corporate predation. on the one hand. when global economic forces converge with local status hierarchies. the Westphalian frame is self-insulating.Fraser: at Universitaetsbibliothek on November 23. which channels the claims of the global poor into the domestic political arenas of relatively powerless. The effect is to misframe disputes about justice. Finally. some segments of the global poor have organized resistance to transnationally rooted exclusions in ways that are well illuminated by my framework. Rather. intersect with ethno-racial stigmatization and political voicelessness. international currency speculators.sagepub. as well as to insulate transnational malefactors from critique and control. by contrast. their movement linked claims against despotic local elites and a corrupt. on the other. as the architecture of the interstate system excludes democratic decision-making on framing questions. and transnational corporations. In still other cases. Mobilizing impoverished peasants and indigenous people. a case in which gender status hierarchies intersect with the collapse of rural farming economies in the wake of a regional banking crisis sparked by a global speculative currency run. that option is foreclosed by the Westphalian gerrymandering of political space. however.15 What none of the excluded can do. Central here are exclusions that arise transnationally. forcing developmental states to open their economies to foreign direct investment on terms dictated by transnational capital. and with national political structures.14 The result. for example. including foreign investors and creditors. in both cases. my framework illuminates such exclusions. With its sensitivity to frames and to questions of scale. documented in the film Darwin’s Nightmare. 2011 . the US- 317 Downloaded from ept. Also protected are the governance structures of the global economy. is a vicious circle of transnationally rooted exclusions. Consider the case of the Zapatistas. still manage to exercise political voice at the national level. a case in which post-Cold War structural adjustment policies.

at the intersection of multi-scaled processes. At the local level. through democratic processes of public debate. Encompassing first-order exclusions from domestic arenas of social interaction. the preferred language for conducting democratic political argumentation on issues of distribution. Pace Bohman.European Journal of Political Theory 6(3) dominated North American Free Trade Area (NAFTA) pact. Democratic deliberation yields legitimate outcomes if and only if the interlocutors can participate as peers – hence. Rather. Thus. At the global level.16 With its several dimensions and multiple levels. Clarifying as well exclusions that are rooted transnationally. they contested the effective exclusion of indigenous peasant communities from Mexican citizenship. my revised framework illuminates the moral stakes and political strategies of contemporary struggles over globalization. a recognition struggle against a neocolonial ethnoracial hierarchy.sagepub. it binds only insofar as its addressees can also regard themselves as its authors. For me. the converse is equally true. Yet if justice implies democracy. the principle of participatory parity clarifies the dialectical character of the relation between justice and democracy. participants argue about whether existing social arrangements impede parity of participation and about whether proposed alternatives would foster it. the Zapatista movement is well parsed by a tripartite conception of justice that is sensitive to injustices of misframing. participatory parity serves as an idiom of public contestation and deliberation about questions of justice. only in the absence of structural injustice. In such debates. it represents the principal idiom of public reason. determined over the heads of those whom it obligates. More strongly. in other words. my approach generates a powerful account of the various levels and layers of exclusion that afflict the global poor. and representation. the Zapatistas combined a redistribution struggle against dispossession from communal lands. justice is not an externally imposed requirement. In at Universitaetsbibliothek on November 23. At the regional level. they protested popular exclusion from the design and creation of NAFTA. and the nondemocratic governance structures of global capitalism. 2011 . then. then. recognition. But does this framework afford an adequate view of the relation between justice and democracy? My third thesis is that the principle of participatory parity discloses the internal conceptual structure of this relation. it reveals that these two 318 Downloaded from ept. they sought to replace quasi-feudal subjection with communal self-government. At the national level. and a representation struggle against exclusion from political decision-making at several different levels. The result was a powerful strategy for contesting multiple sources and levels of exclusion. accordingly. I situate my approach within the family of theories of democratic justice. For me. Disclosing that each presupposes the other. they contested meta-injustices of misframing and convened a transnational public conversation about how to frame questions of justice in a globalizing world – a discussion that has since been continued in the meetings of the World Social Forum. it also conceptualizes metaexclusions that result from the misframing of first-order harms. Thus. In Redistribution or Recognition? I argued that this principle must be applied dialogically.

in support of my first three theses. In revising my framework to incorporate a third.Fraser: Identity. Thanks to some recent exchanges with Ingrid Robeyns and Kevin Olson.17 Bohman is also mistaken in treating my framework as antithetical to the capability model of justice. I have come to see that the principle of participatory parity operates in ‘the evaluative space of capabilities’. In actuality. it marries the substantive orientation of the capability approach to the democratic proceduralism of discourse at Universitaetsbibliothek on November 23. all theorizing worthy of the name aspires to comprehensiveness in the sense of encompassing the whole range of phenomena within 319 Downloaded from ept. Yet he and I agree. At its best. to be sure. and Critique fundamental concepts stand in an internal relation of reciprocal co-implication. I understand Bohman’s idea as a promising example of a nonreformist reform. as it focuses on the relative capabilities for participation of different agents. the two notions are not at all comparable. Thus. my variant is comparative. Whereas participatory parity is a principle of justice. thus. It follows that Bohman is mistaken to present his notion of the democratic minimum as an alternative to the principle of participatory parity. participation in what? Assuming that arenas of participation and types of interaction are historically variable and open-ended. it highlights the social character of social life. my approach mandates that capabilities be assessed dialogically. then. To my knowledge. I have effectively upheld the spirit of Bohman’s commitment to plurality. without abandoning my own commitment to comprehensive theorizing.sagepub. it belongs to the deontological tradition of ‘justice as fairness’. these two ideas do not operate on the same level. rather than on capabilities for individual ‘functionings’. it differs importantly from some other members of that family. serves to buttress my fourth thesis too: comprehensive theorizing need not be at odds with plurality. Finally. the democratic minimum is a transitional strategy for achieving justice under non-ideal conditions. Exclusion. rather than to the Aristotelian teleological tradition. As I see it. I think. political dimension of justice. as peers. and pragmatism. democracy.18 Contra Bohman. my framework belongs to the family of capability approaches. thus. one that is perfectly compatible with the conception of justice as participatory parity. 2011 . as the principle of participatory parity requires. because it assesses social arrangements in terms of the degree to which they assure people the capability to participate fully. which is a very good thing. the democratic minimum may get the excluded sufficiently far into the political game as to assure them a voice in ongoing arguments about social justice. For another. through fair and inclusive political debate. Bohman has not proposed a conception of justice comparable to mine. Next. Nevertheless. then. But it does not assure that their voices count equally in political debates.19 What I have said so far. that a society that successfully achieves the democratic minimum may still be far from having achieved justice. my approach leaves open the question. I do not seek to enumerate once and for all a list of basic capabilities or functionings. For one thing. my approach focuses chiefly on capabilities for social interaction. in social life. Far from regarding it as a rival. as Amartya Sen would say. as already noted. effectively.

which I shall call ‘responsible pluralism in the service of comprehensiveness’. But nothing that Bohman says here convinces me that I need to do so now. if and when the theorist discovers that something important is not adequately dealt with. In principle. while a perspectival dualism of redistribution and recognition could. and the primary question is: in what terms should the theory be formulated in order best to fulfill those objectives? In the second stream. This brings me to a final point. The Priority of Justice: A Rejoinder to Kompridis So far I have been focusing on the political face of my framework. reflectively. from another sort. too. which I’ll call ‘intraparadigmatic’. as opposed to gratuitous. as I take up the articles of Nikolas Kompridis and Rainer Forst. in the same spirit of responsible pluralism.European Journal of Political Theory 6(3) its domain. it becomes incumbent on her to revise her theory. and comprehensively as they are able. even if the latter can never be fully realized. I now maintain. Here I find myself in agreement with Bohman. as opposed to responsible. critical theorists should not renounce comprehensive theorizing. Let me distinguish this sort of pluralism. in which case I would need to revise my framework yet again. Thus. especially its normative foundations and what Forst calls its ‘social ontology’. 320 Downloaded from ept.sagepub. that a three-dimensional framework is both necessary and sufficient for critical theory. about the relation of theory to public-sphere political debate. The issues divide into two streams. 2011 . In one stream. Assuming that pluralism should be responsible. I. And I. regard my theorizing as an effort to ‘articulate commitments and enrich the pool of reasons available in public justification’ (p. I turn to the theoretical face. Pluralism is gratuitous. 274). this claim could turn out to be wrong. 3. In my view. however. Although I still hold to the first part of this thesis (on the inadequacy of recognition monism). of course. when it violates the rule of conceptual parsimony.20 It was in this spirit of responsible pluralism in the service of comprehensiveness that I argued in Redistribution or Recognition? that Axel Honneth’s recognition monism could not account for all the forms and mechanisms of injustice in contemporary at Universitaetsbibliothek on November 23. I have since changed my mind about the second (on the adequacy of redistribution–recognition dualism). the fundamental objectives of critical theory are taken as settled. which I’ll call ‘extraparadigmatic’. That rule holds that we should prefer a framework that can account for the phenomena in question with as few basic categories as possible. which I shall call ‘gratuitous pluralism’. endorse the Deweyan view of the critic as a ‘reflective participant’ and the pragmatic norm of ‘practical verification’. Rather. they should infuse it with the spirit of fallibilism and openness to new evidence. Now. What are at stake here are the philosophical underpinnings of critical theory. none of this requires me to drop the aspiration to theoretical comprehensiveness. however. On the contrary. the very aims of critical theory are in dispute. I maintain that critical theorists can best contribute to democratic processes of social emancipation by thinking as deeply. too.

each of these four claims about recognition entails a different standard and model of critique. 2011 . extra-paradigmatic stream of questioning. he alleges that any attempt to reduce such a rich and contested concept to a ‘normatively monistic’ interpretation is inherently misguided. though. Premised on a shared understanding of critical theory. This larger. I weigh the relative merits of our respective answers to the following question: with which social-theoretical and normative conceptions can one best fashion a critical theory of institutionalized injustice for the present era? Nikolas Kompridis contends that the central issue in Redistribution or Recognition? is the meaning of recognition. accordingly. and Critique In what follows. central to my approach. I compare the latter’s merits with those of some other possibilities. that a critical theory should accord priority to the critique of institutionalized injustice. In his view. not primarily focused on critiquing institutionalized injustice. Yet the nature of Kompridis’s alternative remains unclear. he contends that recognition is best understood as a matter of freedom in the Foucauldian sense. accordingly. At still other points. hinted at in Kompridis’s article. Reading him as challenging my understanding of critical theory. its meaning cannot be reduced to a single normative idea. his contention that I am so focused on justifying recognition claims relative to existing protocols of public reason that I neglect the disclosive role of language in articulating subjective suffering. thereby insinuating the need for a synthesis of Honneth and myself. in which I locate Kompridis’s concerns. An essentially contested concept. therefore. at Universitaetsbibliothek on November 23. Here. he seeks to displace it in favor of a different set of questions. Then again. Kompridis maintains that neither of those interpretations captures the full meaning of recognition. he maintains that recognition is the focus of aspirations that are so intrinsically problematic that critical theorists would do better to question the concept than to accord it any normative validity. At other points.Fraser: Identity. This criticism and others like it point not only to another understanding of recognition but also to a different conception of critical theory. Rejecting both Honneth’s identitarian account of that concept and my own status model. recognition belongs exclusively neither to the realm of justice nor to that of self-realization. finally. I examine the principal issues between Forst and myself. In what follows. Here I consider the question: is there a defensible and desirable alternative to my view that critical theory should prioritize the critique of institutionalized injustice? Turning next to the intra-paradigmatic stream of questioning. the alternatives debated in Redistribution or Recognition? present a false antithesis. I begin with the second. I shall examine each of Kompridis’s claims about recognition with a view to determining whether it affords a viable 321 Downloaded from ept. For Kompridis. Yet all of them reject the premise. these issues concern the best way to realize a project we jointly espouse. As I see it. extra-paradigmatic agenda informs Kompridis’s more specific objections to my approach – for example. At some points. Far from wishing to contribute to that debate. he suggests that recognition implicates both justice and self-realization. as it concerns ‘how we govern ourselves’. however.

Forswearing any effort to distinguish good from bad forms of recognition. recognition need not be interpreted in this way. by extension. but as a vehicle of normalization and thus as an object of critique. of critical theory. the claim that the craving for recognition is inherently self-defeating is question begging. Kompridis invites the thought that a genuinely critical theory would deconstruct. which means. Another (non-identitarian) possibility is the one I proposed in Redistribution or Recognition?: that we understand claims for recognition as protests against status subordination – hence. as a recognition sceptic. I shall ask whether any of the alternatives intimated by Kompridis better satisfies its provisions than the approach I elaborated in Redistribution or Recognition? In this way. Beginning with the most radical. The claim here is that the desire for recognition is inherently unrealizable and self-defeating. I shall argue that it is only by imagining the overcoming of misrecognition as a genre of institutionalized injustice that we can conceive any positive form of recognition that can be considered a good beyond justice. rejectionist view and proceeding in order of increasing proximity to the status model. the other political. Yet its implications are worth examining for heuristic purposes.European Journal of Political Theory 6(3) alternative to that justice-theoretic conception. accordingly. emancipatory interest in unmasking domination. 322 Downloaded from ept. that the desire for recognition is best analyzed as a wish to be regarded and valued by others as one really is. by implication. not as an emancipatory aspiration.sagepub. they should abandon such mainstream ‘therapeutic’ concerns and question the yearning for recognition. My strategy. I shall treat each of Kompridis’s claims about recognition as a stage of thought. Read this way. I shall attempt to defend both my status model of recognition and my focus on institutionalized injustice against Kompridis’s objections. Let me begin. As I see it. with Kompridis’s most radical claim about recognition and. as one regards and values oneself. recognition. I shall assume the following thin definition of critical theory. the argument just sketched runs up against two objections. I must add. The end result will be to demonstrate the conceptual priority of the justice-theoretic understanding of recognition and. by comparing them with some other possibilities. Kompridis himself stops short of such a conclusion. then recognition is neither possible nor desirable and the most radical thesis would be right: we should jettison recognition as a normative category of critical theory. In fact. one conceptual. as opposed to ‘traditional’. In fact. if this is what is meant by recognition. Supposing this definition to be sufficiently neutral to serve as a benchmark. so deeply problematic is this craving that critical theorists should treat it. Borrowing a leaf from Hegel. at Universitaetsbibliothek on November 23. the sequence reveals the latter’s comparative strengths in step-by-step fashion. which I take to be noncontroversial: a theory is ‘critical’. will be dialectical. only if it is guided by a practical. In that case. which leads when probed to an impasse and so gives way to the next. For the sake of argument. in effect. Defending the thesis that justice is the first virtue of recognition. rather than reconstruct. about critical theory. It assumes what needs first to be shown: namely. however. Certainly. 2011 . as claims for justice.

this view. including claims for redistribution and representation. impediments to self-realization. able to expose such subordination. less radical suggestion that recognition claims are unobjectionable in principle but so multifarious and contested that any ‘normatively monistic’ account of them is bound to be reductive and inadequate. It follows that critical theorists should abandon efforts to conceptualize recognition along normatively monistic lines. For one thing. A more likely candidate for that position is his second. Although Kompridis may not subscribe to its full implications. 323 Downloaded from ept. more democratic approach would identify the emancipatory kernel of their aspirations and reconstruct their claims accordingly. political as well as conceptual. fetters on freedom. Thus. which corresponds on this interpretation to a bona fide genre of subordination not reducible to distributive injustice. then. On this view. It is fortunate. thus. even in the best-case scenario. Absent a functional equivalent. Thus. every attempt to associate recognition exclusively with one single normative category can at best capture only part of the story. too.Fraser: Identity. they will not lead to perfect justice. Understood in this way. Also doomed are efforts to subsume all of recognition’s many facets within a single comprehensive account. they should treat it as an essentially contested concept. 2011 . Instead. A better. the proposal to jettison recognition presupposes a god’s eye view from which the theorist presumes to invalidate whole social movements in a single stroke. they cannot be harmoniously reconciled or lexically ranked. and so on. emancipatory intent. they cannot be definitively enumerated once and for all. and they may well miscarry in practice. For another. and Critique such claims would point to the need for institutional change. including violations of justice. the proposal to equate recognition with normalization fails to yield a defensible view of critical theory as a practically motivated inquiry aimed at unmasking domination. Although it is disdained by Kompridis. recognition remains indispensable to any critical theory that seeks to unmask domination. therefore. recognition’s meanings continue to unfold historically in novel and unpredictable at Universitaetsbibliothek on November 23. specifically to the need to deinstitutionalize hierarchical patterns of cultural value and to replace them with patterns that foster participatory parity. Granted. moreover. whose meaning will never be settled. Following this path in Redistribution or Recognition?. Politically. it treats those who struggle for recognition as simple dupes. Premised on an authoritarian and elitist view of critical theory. On both counts. misrecognition covers a multitude of sins. that this proposal is not the one closest to Kompridis’s heart. I reconstructed recognition claims as aiming to overcome status hierarchy. the various parts are at odds with one another. like Weber’s polytheism of values. The point was to discern the legitimate core of identitarian social protest in order to separate the wheat from the chaff. this interest in distinguishing better from worse recognition claims is indispensable to any critical theory with a practical. Exclusion. claims for recognition are no more self-defeating than other types of justice claims. But that is hardly a reason for critical theorists to eschew the category of recognition. it fails to strike a proper balance between independence from and sympathy with struggling subjects.

indifference. more promising strategy. that 324 Downloaded from ept. Finally. in the struggle to define what will count as recognition? Or are some of them excluded or marginalized as a consequence of unjust social arrangements? Clearly. it does not deserve to be called a critical theory. this democratic view leaves open the precise content of the norms of recognition. In principle. of misrecognition as status subordination. Counseling the theorist to throw up her hands in the face of an unruly multiplicity of meanings. it positions her as an impotent observer of an endless. more specific meanings that emerge from the struggle. If the critical theorist is to identify these impediments to a fair contest over the meaning of recognition. 2011 . justice-theoretic notion of misrecognition. First. Do all concerned have equal chances to participate fully. however. the view that recognition cannot be comprehensively theorized is objectionably aprioristic. this account offers the only way I can see to connect Kompridis’s interest in valorizing contestation over recognition’s meaning with critical theory’s emancipatory aims. aimed at elaborating an account of recognition as one dimension among others of a comprehensive theory of justice. Reminiscent of James Bohman’s allegation that comprehensive theorizing cannot do justice to the inherent plurality of modes of injustice. Focused on those aspects that pertain to justice. To merit that title it must be prepared to do the hard social-theoretical work of exposing structural obstacles to fair participation. But unless it interrogates the terms of the contestation that will settle that content. however. irresolvable contest into which she can offer no insight. it is subject to related objections. Elaborated in Redistribution and Recognition?. these can include institutionalized relations of recognition. To pursue this possibility. which deprive some potential participants of the status of peers. Second. which may or may not be justice-related. his second thesis about recognition fails to express the sort of practical interest in overcoming domination that distinguishes critical from traditional theory. and disabling. must enjoy conceptual priority over the other. consider another. Giving away the game at the outset. The same is true for the third claim I attributed to Kompridis: namely. is establish the conceptual priority of the justice-related aspects over the others.European Journal of Political Theory 6(3) merits at Universitaetsbibliothek on November 23. Without it. And that notion. such an account need not claim to encompass every facet of recognition. and most important. In that case the critical theorist would have to concern herself with the fairness (or lack thereof) of the terms on which their contest is waged. it replaces the wholesale negativity of the previous view with an equally wholesale.sagepub. Implying. she must already possess a general. this view overlooks another. as peers. What it must do. the view that recognition is too inherently indeterminate to be theorized is hard to square with critical theory’s emancipatory intent. less problematic interpretation of the thesis that recognition is essentially contested. it forecloses the chance to develop a viable theory of recognition by settling for a pluralism that could be gratuitous. that any account of recognition is as good as any other. too. Suppose this thesis is meant to endorse the democratic view that it is up to the participants themselves to determine the meaning of recognition.

it is conceptually prior to other interpretations in the following sense: it is only by imagining the overcoming of misrecognition as a genre of institutionalized injustice that we can conceive any positive form of recognition that can be considered a good beyond justice. especially a dislike of normalization and a fondness for contestation. this claim offers a positively valued. As such. including those inhering in institutionalized relations of recognition. this one must interrogate the terms on which struggles over recognition proceed. Despite its interest in promoting freedom. the contest is better described as an exercise in domination. a struggle over recognition cannot be considered a bona fide expression of freedom unless the antagonists are equally empowered to exercise their freedom in and through it. this view too must prioritize questions of justice in order to sustain its emancipatory intent. Let me pause to recap my reasoning to this point. Associated by Kompridis with James Tully’s quasi-Foucauldian perspective. as a justice-theoretic conception. It follows. What appeared at first to be an independent rival view turns out on closer inspection to be parasitic on the justice-theoretic view. even when it is reciprocal. it must expose structural impediments to equal freedom. In general. while the struggle to achieve it is a practice of freedom. and Critique recognition is at bottom a matter of freedom. critical theorists should de-teleologize recognition.Fraser: Identity. Thus. therefore. 2011 . Yet the freedom-theoretic conception of recognition incorporates features of those previous views. The problem is that the only ideal of freedom that can be acceptable to a critical theory is an ideal of equal freedom. normatively monistic account of that concept. Focused on status subordination as a genre of institutionalized domination. valorizing the freedomincarnating process over the freedom-limiting result. in discussing three of Kompridis’s claims about recognition. Exclusion. this view fails to generate a framework that is adequate for that purpose. as are arrangements that enable some to exercise their freedom at the expense of the freedom of at Universitaetsbibliothek on November 23. then. it is the interpretation critical theorists should prioritize so as to forward their emancipatory aims. On this view. the view of recognition as freedom maintains its critical-theoretical bona fides only insofar as it presupposes the view of recognition as a dimension of justice in the sense of participatory parity. the status model does 325 Downloaded from ept. I have returned again and again to a single point: while the status model does not capture every meaning of recognition. Asking whether social arrangements enable all to participate as peers. to paraphrase John Rawls. Like the previous view.21 Seen this way.sagepub. Failing that. that critical theorists should regard justice as the first virtue of recognition – where ‘first’ means not necessarily the highest virtue but the one that secures the enabling conditions for all of the others. Thus. Social arrangements that enhance the freedom of some by restricting the freedom of others are unacceptable. Contradicting both the view of recognition as normalization and the view of its meaning as essentially contested. Thus. this model is justice-theoretic. recognition achieved coerces and constrains. So far. it values the struggle over recognition above the end to which the struggle aspires.

then.22 As a result of this typical bias in signifying systems. The thesis that justice is the first virtue of recognition bears as well on the fourth alternative hinted at in Kompridis’s article – namely. But by establishing the priority of the critique of institutionalized injustice. What Kompridis misses. On the contrary. that recognition implicates both justice and self-realization. it rules out interpretations of recognition that require or promote institutionalized disparities of participation. as Kompridis himself recommends. Treating justice as the first virtue. while leaving it to readers to work out the implications for the others. which can be overcome by institutional change. however. with the spirit of one of Kompridis’s criticisms of Axel Honneth. Kompridis contends that he overburdens the latter concept and impoverishes the former. Claiming that Honneth reduces self-realization to recognition. Prioritizing justice. What I have said so far suffices. I hope also to have provided the basis for dispelling Kompridis’s more specific objections.sagepub. Yet nothing in my approach entails that existing vocabularies of justification are adequate for disclosing harms that have not yet been publicly articulated. The least radical of his various suggestions. These considerations dovetail. I agree with Kompridis. it must seek to equalize the conditions under which various interpretations of human flourishing are formulated. Now. is to disentangle self-realization from recognition so as to make room for a broader spectrum of perfectionist concerns. to defend my general conceptions of recognition and of critical at Universitaetsbibliothek on November 23. we can discern the specific form such a combination must take: critical theory must prioritize the critique of institutionalized injustice in order to open a space for legitimate forms of self-realization. the justice-theoretic view is fully compatible with the claim. the dominated shoulder an extra. asym- 326 Downloaded from ept. Kompridis claims that I neglect the importance of linguistic innovation aimed at giving expression to heretofore unnamed injustices. I trust. the status model clears a space in which social agents can legitimately pursue diverse perfectionist aims. By prioritizing the critique of institutionalized injustice. freed from the straitjacket of identitarian recognition. Let me conclude by responding to one such objection here. The better course. I think. Far from supplanting or demoting self-realization. this claim implies that critical theorists should seek to combine Honneth’s concern for self-realization with my concern for justice. the status model of recognition aims to establish the terrain on which it can be fairly pursued. Effectively downsizing recognition. debated. which I advanced more than 20 years ago.European Journal of Political Theory 6(3) not so much exclude other meanings of recognition as set constraints on how they may be legitimately construed and pursued. this approach limits itself to a political conception of recognition. is that the status model does just that. that a society’s authorized ‘means of interpretation and communication’ (MIC) are often better suited to expressing the perspectives of its advantaged strata than those of the oppressed and subordinated. and pursued. 2011 . however.

Impeding their ability to participate as peers. it prioritizes the critique of institutionalized injustice. then. and Critique metrical burden in political argument. these movements also enrich the pool of potentially persuasive justifications and change the understanding of impartiality. What Kompridis calls the struggle for voice is intimately linked to such linguistic innovation. To unmask it requires the sort of justice-theoretic critique I have elaborated here. 2011 .Fraser: Identity. mine accords due importance to both those linguistic practices. and synthesizing – I have shown that each leads to an aporia whose sublation requires a shift to a justice-theoretic conception. What distinguishes this approach from all four alternatives intimated by Kompridis is its ability to link the disclosive use of language directly to the project of unmasking domination. freedom-theoretic. no paradigm better comprehends the historicity of public reason than the version of discourse ethics that informs my approach. it better expresses the practical. when social movements succeed in expanding the range of publicly nameable injustices. Far from relying on rigid. whose injustice it already suspects. emancipatory intent of critical theory. the view of critique I have been advocating here is informed by a version of discourse ethics. Contra Kompridis. ‘sexual harassment’. that version invites the reflexive critique of all institutionalized rationality regimes. In general. it valorizes the efforts of emancipatory social movements to invent novel significations that expand the meaning of justice.23 Moreover. For this reason.sagepub. the protocols of public reason change too. predefined notions as to what counts as an impartial reason. 327 Downloaded from ept. which invented such expressions as ‘date rape’. In broadening the spectrum of intelligible claims. Although Habermas’s version is sometimes thought to privilege justification at the expense of disclosure. virtually every epochal struggle against injustice has involved the creation of new vocabularies for articulating injustices that previously lacked names. On this point. the bias built into the MIC is itself an institutionalized injustice. too. as new political subjects literally talk themselves into existence. And far from neglecting the disclosive dimension of signification. Examining a staged sequence of views about recognition – at Universitaetsbibliothek on November 23. Second-wave feminism. In replying to Kompridis I have pursued a quasi-Hegelian strategy. construing misrecognition as status subordination. The end result is to validate a specific answer to the extra-paradigmatic question about the social ontology of critical theory: such a theory best promotes its emancipatory aims when. and ‘the double shift’. is exemplary but by no means unique. as well as the language game of consciousness-raising. often creating their own subaltern counterpublics to amplify new need interpretations and situation definitions that cannot at first gain a hearing in mainstream public spheres. while clarifying the relation between them. Exclusion. anti-monistic.

I must first note the points of agreement. of which there are many. one can read his norm of justificatory fairness as a special case of my principle of participatory parity. which of these two approaches should one prefer? Given the priority of (in)justice. my disagreements with Forst are intra-paradigmatic. For him. critical theorists should espouse a single overarching principle of justice. notwithstanding his carefully cultivated posture of evenhandedness. too. then. the practice of political argument. Second. each governed by a different norm. a critical theory needs a multidimensional explanatory framework. he proposes to replace my principle of parity of participation with a norm of justificatory fairness. I read Forst as siding with me. On the plane of moral philosophy. Forst’s article invites us to consider the question. Premised on a shared commitment to justice-theoretic critique. and against Axel Honneth.24 Nevertheless. should critical theorists conceive that notion in terms of justification or participation? But that is not the only possible interpretation of our exchange. Forst does not endorse the theory I have proposed. Instead of reading Forst’s and my views as rivals. recognition monism is deficient as social theory. then. applied to one specific arena of social practice. First. moreover. be normatively monist. Forst himself comes down in favor of the former. Justification or Participation? A Rejoinder to Forst Rainer Forst and I agree on the basic objectives of critical theory. Thus. Consequently. In general.European Journal of Political Theory 6(3) 4. In at Universitaetsbibliothek on November 23. on nearly all of the fundamental issues debated in Redistribution or Recognition? Aligning my position with the tradition of exploitation critique and Honneth’s with that of alienation critique. which should. The apparent result is to substitute a justificationtheoretic conception of justice for my participation-theoretic conception. namely. Because a teleological notion of recognition cannot justify binding obligations of justice in modern contexts of ethical pluralism. On the plane of social theory. Forst and I agree that a critical theory of contemporary society should be social-theoretically multidimensional and normatively monist.sagepub. which all injustices can be shown to violate. emancipatory aims when it makes the critique of institutionalized injustice its priority. as it cannot identify the major genres of structural injustice in contemporary society. he agrees with me that Honneth’s theory fails in two major ways to provide an adequate conceptual basis for critical theory. a critical theory needs a deontological moral philosophy. Thus. he appears to reject my account of three intertwined orders of subordination in favor of a ‘pluralism of evaluative notions’. I shall 328 Downloaded from ept. Because distributive injustices are not always forms or effects of misrecognition. The core issue is categorial: with what categories should one formulate a critical theory of (in)justice? In order to specify that core disagreement. such a theory best fulfills its practical. Unlike my dispute with Kompridis. In what follows. they concern the best way to realize that project. recognition monism fails to supply an adequate normative basis for critique. instead of distinguishing three spheres of recognition. 2011 .

one justification-theoretic. Each of the three orders of subordination/genres of injustice names a type of institutionalized power differential that deprives some social actors of the chance to participate on a par with others in social life. as an interior thought process. 2011 . orders. only in the absence of entrenched power asymmetries. In any case.Fraser: Identity. For both of us. misrepresentation). Let me consider each of these issues in turn. via a deliberative process in which all potentially affected can participate on fair terms in the exchange of arguments and counterarguments. cultural. as a real democratic political process. While devoting the bulk of my discussion to the relative merits of our respective views when construed as alternatives. Nevertheless. our moral-philosophical views differ in four respects. then. and social ontology of normative critique. I shall end by sketching a reading that incorporates elements of Forst’s approach into mine. as Forst himself says little about that. corresponding to three intertwined genres of injustice (maldistribution. For both of us. and Critique consider each of these interpretations. moreover. Here the question is: what does each theory take to be the principal focus of critical 329 Downloaded from ept. scope. and the outcome legitimate only if all who are potentially affected are able to participate fully. but rather dialogically. the process will be fair. that process is not conceived monologically. at Universitaetsbibliothek on November 23. Each of us holds that justice claims must be warranted discursively. which must be socially institutionalized. which requires more extended discussion. In fact. Construing Forst’s theory and mine as rivals. asking: which does a better job of putting first things first in social theory and moral philosophy? I can deal briefly with the social theory side of the question. I am not even sure whether his references to ‘evaluative pluralism’ are really meant to refer to social theory at all. i. Because he offers no account of his own of these matters. political). and sources of injustice. one might conclude that my approach is better equipped to put first things first in social theory. the other participation-theoretic.e. by assuming that we are confronted with a choice between two competing conceptions of (in)justice. as peers – which is to say. nor any substantive arguments against mine. Let me begin. it is not entirely clear whether he really does mean to reject my account of three intertwined orders of subordination (economic. misrecognition. Exclusion. beginning with the problem of object. Given Forst’s failure to provide a comparable account of power asymmetries. I turn now to the moral-philosophical aspect of our exchange. I shall employ his standard to assess their respective strengths and weaknesses. mechanisms. which concern the object. How should one weigh their relative merits? Forst himself suggests an evaluative standard: does a given critical-theoretical framework succeed in putting ‘first things first’? Does it clarify the power asymmetries that simultaneously entrench injustices and hamper efforts to challenge them? I wholeheartedly endorse this evaluative standard. this account satisfies Forst’s evaluative standard. to a multidimensional explanatory account of the genres.sagepub. finally. Beginning with the points of agreement. I note that both of our views belong to the family of discourse-theoretic approaches.

on the other. Forst’s principle of justificatory fairness is purely procedural.sagepub. I take it. my approach applies its normative standard to the power relations in force. it captures power asymmetries that are not reflected in justificatory syntax and that elude an approach that takes the latter as a proxy for the former. non-reciprocal codes and idioms. For each of us. The parity standard applies. standing. it is better able to put first things first. in contrast. the principle of participatory parity is at once procedural 330 Downloaded from ept. or does it serve rather to assess the outcome? As I understand it. In contrast. and voice that are needed for full participation? Thus. Directly targeting differentials in power. as opposed to social relations. Forst’s justification-theoretic approach takes as its privileged object the formal syntax of the reasons the participants exchange. Are these terms such as to permit all to participate fully. What is at issue here is the mode in which our respective principles of justice operate. My second moral-philosophical difference with Forst concerns the modality of normative critique. This. it serves to evaluate the latter’s procedural fairness – by scrutinizing the syntax of the reasons exchanged within it. is what he means to assess when he invokes the criteria of generality and at Universitaetsbibliothek on November 23. my approach provides a non-circuitous route to the question of power. Whereas he broaches power indirectly. but to the social terms on which they converse. mine has advantages over Forst’s on the issue of object. as peers. Applying exclusively to the input side of the dialogical exchange. tackling head-on the structural asymmetries that taint social practices of justification in unjust societies. my approach confronts power directly. For Forst. and by disqualifying the latter’s protests as particularistic and non-reciprocal. Those criteria are treated by him as attributes of reasons. by using reasons whose formal syntax is facially general and reciprocal to defend arrangements that injure the dominated. justifications cannot be cogent unless their syntax manifests formal properties of generality and reciprocity. Unlike his. does the principle function procedurally or substantively? Does it evaluate the process of deliberation. As a result. my approach unmasks such strategies. in political argument? Or do institutionalized power asymmetries deprive some potential interlocutors of the resources. Interrogating the social-structural context disregarded by Forst. on the one hand. then. my participation-theoretic approach takes as its primary object the social relations among the interlocutors. If the two theories are construed as rivals. which can institutionalize obstacles to participatory parity in deliberation. accordingly. By training scrutiny not on syntax but on social relations.European Journal of Political Theory 6(3) scrutiny? How does each construe the object to which its normative principle applies? As I understand it. For me. not to the syntax of the propositions they utter. 2011 . it is better able to see through the ways in which dominant strata manipulate arguments – for example. through the proxy of syntax. This difference in object bears importantly on Forst’s suggestion that critical theorists put first things first. The reasons offered must eschew special pleading and restricted.

Whereas the first refers to the existence of an institutionalized structure of justification. i. Forst proposes an ingenious solution to this problem. what exactly is needed to achieve parity of participation in a given case can only be determined dialogically. In the second case. On the one hand. All such approaches must take steps to prevent the circle from becoming vicious. Sensitive to output as well as to input. then. On the other hand. Second. any specific account of substantive injustice must be dialogically warranted.e. but one needs just distribution and recognition in order to have a fair structure of justification. both procedurally and substantively – while taking care neither to confuse them with one another nor to blur the distinction between them. Granted. the principle directs us to ask whether the interlocutors are really able to participate as peers in exchanging arguments about justice and injustice. Applied to both the input and the output of deliberation. he distinguishes minimal from maximal justice. In no way specific to me. Once again. Allowing for the possibility that a procedurally fair process can generate a substantively unjust outcome. which can reveal the likely impact of a contemplated policy decision on extant power relations in a given context. a theory of power must keep open the possibility of a gap between procedural fairness and substantive justice. In the first case. Echoing Bohman’s idea of the democratic minimum. Thus.sagepub. it assesses the procedural fairness of dialogical processes – by interrogating the relations of social power that underlie them. should be informed by empirical research. through fair democratic deliberation. the second 331 Downloaded from ept. such a theory should be able to criticize substantive injustice as well as procedural unfairness. but Forst’s own view is circular in just the same way: one needs a fair structure of justification in order to determine the requirements of justice. however. faced with two alternatives that appear to be rivals. But the discussion. and Critique and substantive. 2011 . in my view. There is indeed a circularity here. that principle serves to evaluate each of two major variables in the equation. the circularity problem arises for any approach that envisions a transition to more just social arrangements via political processes that occur by definition in unjust circumstances. where participants can demand and receive justifications. that my double use of participatory parity to evaluate both the input and the output of political argument raises the question of circularity. fair democratic deliberation presupposes that participatory parity already exists.Fraser: Identity. it directs us to ask whether the political decisions that ensue from their discussions will really enhance the fairness of future encounters by reducing disparities in participation. we should ask: which approach is better positioned to put first things first in the sense of exposing unjust asymmetries of power? To be genuinely critical. like the theory itself. Exclusion. such a theory best grasps the workings of power when it incorporates a normative principle that operates in both at Universitaetsbibliothek on November 23. First. a critique of institutionalized injustice should encompass both consequentialist and procedural considerations. it also serves to assess the substantive justice of deliberative outcomes – by examining their consequences for future social interaction. Forst correctly notes.

aims to turn a vicious circle into a virtuous spiral. at Universitaetsbibliothek on November 23. so that the next round of political argument proceeds on terms that are somewhat more fair and can be expected to lead to still better outcomes. to my third moral-philosophical difference with Forst. we should ask: which approach more thoroughly exposes the unjust asymmetries of power that pervade contemporary societies? On its face. Forst mixes genuine insights with dubious conclusions. I agree that the political is a fundamental dimension of justice. mine comes out better than Forst’s with respect to the issue of modality. like those of Forst and Bohman. Let me turn. my approach is more critical. The issue here is the range of social practices that each theory subjects to critical scrutiny. family and personal life. and. It is to them alone (or to the reasons exchanged within them) that his criteria of generality and reciprocity apply. Forst limits his core principle’s scope of application to a single class of social practices – namely. But it is a mistake. but also other major social arenas. and associations in civil society. I maintain that it sits equally well with mine. public goods and services. In contrast. in fact. it is better able to put first things first. that we are dealing with competing views. What should we make of these claims? In my view. 2011 . As I read him. to identify power exclusively 332 Downloaded from ept. It is thanks to this wide scope of application that the parity principle can serve as a substantive norm for evaluating the outcomes of deliberation as well as a procedural principle for evaluating deliberative processes. that it is a hyper-good. because power is the hyper-good whose distribution determines that of all other goods. second. because it targets more types of power asymmetries in more arenas of social life.25 This idea. which concerns the scope of normative critique. practices of justification. and so on. Assuming here.European Journal of Political Theory 6(3) denotes a fully justified basic structure of society. Included here are practices of justification. No more liable than his to the charge of circularity.W. this expression refers to deliberation that. in my view. formal and informal politics. therefore.sagepub. Winnicott’s notion of ‘good enough mothering’. when our two approaches are construed as rivals. while tainted by power asymmetries and thus falling short of participatory parity. Although Forst suggests that this distinction redounds to the exclusive credit of his approach. Operating substantively as well as procedurally. because the political is the master dimension of social (in)justice. the participation-theoretic model is more critical of power asymmetries insofar as it interrogates both the input and output of deliberation. Elsewhere. Yet Forst maintains that he is justified in limiting the scope of his principle to justificatory arenas for two reasons: first. such as employment and markets. I also agree that power has a special status. as my revised threedimensional framework makes clear. I have proposed the analogous idea of good enough deliberation. A paraphrase of D. too. to be sure. to all major social practices and arenas of social interaction. As I see it. The difference between it and Forst’s minimal justice is not a difference that makes a difference. my principle of participatory parity applies more broadly. is ‘good enough’ to generate outcomes that reduce disparities.

Politicism appears to follow from Forst’s insistence that the political is the master dimension of justice. But that priority is conjunctural. It follows that efforts to overcome injustice cannot. so the ability to exercise political voice depends on the relations of class and status. and political) identifies a fundamental. In fact. not conceptual. address the relations of representation alone. Given the current salience of injustices of misframing. Like those discredited approaches. while installing the political as the ‘base’. politicism is the view that the social relations of representation determine those of distribution and recognition. This is a difference that makes a difference. that one can overcome all maldistribution and misrecognition simply by overcoming at Universitaetsbibliothek on November 23. So what is so special about the political? Forst is right. and to culturalism. Analogous to economism. is deeply misguided. my own preference is for the slogan. I say this even while endorsing Forst’s view of power as a hyper-good and stipulating that the political enjoys a special salience today – for conjunctural. the three dimensions stand in relations of mutual entwinement and reciprocal influence. not conceptual. this view is no more adequate than vulgar economism or reductive culturalism. on the other. my approach avoids the pitfalls of what I shall call reductive ‘politicism’. reasons. to insist that the political is always necessarily in play. on the one hand. And even today the politics of representation appears as one among three interconnected fronts in the struggle for social justice in a globalizing world. Exclusion. On the contrary. of course. But this does not entail that it is the master dimension.sagepub. Consequently. 2011 . The upshot is that the political cannot be designated the master dimension of (in)justice. irreducible dimension of social power. it disables his approach from grappling successfully with the three dialectically entwined sources of power asymmetry in contemporary society. If so. Rather. Where one puts the emphasis. Ascribing a base–superstructure configuration to contemporary society. even when it is not the explicit focus of dispute. its practical implication. even in polities that are formally democratic. Just as the ability to make claims for distribution and recognition depends on relations of representation. ‘No redistribution or recognition without representation’. politicism fails to do justice to the complexity of structural causation in capitalist society. struggles against misrepresentation cannot succeed unless they are joined with struggles against maldistribution and misrecognition – and vice versa. except in rare cases. whose architectonic it faithfully mimics. By refusing to treat the political as the master dimension of justice. each picks out an order of power asymmetry that poses a distinctive type of obstacle to parity of participation. maldistribution and misrecognition conspire to subvert the principle of equal political voice for every citizen. there is no justification for limiting normative critique to 333 Downloaded from ept. each of the three dimensions (economic. For the same is true of the other two dimensions of justice. I think. and Critique with the political dimension of justice. cultural. Thus. What follows for the issue of scope? If the political cannot be deemed the master dimension.Fraser: Identity. Corresponding to a distinctive mode of subordination and genre of injustice. is both a tactical and strategic decision.

so. even as it rightly prioritizes the critique of institutionalized injustice.European Journal of Political Theory 6(3) justificatory practices. Mine. variegated. which picks out only those features of personhood that a nonsectarian theory of justice must presuppose. As a result. First. Assuming they constitute rival social ontologies. this social ontology permits critical theory to address a major form of alienation. As a result. by affirming the ideal of participatory parity. In my approach.26 On this general theoretical strategy we agree. 334 Downloaded from ept. ‘political’ conception of the person. accordingly. the participation-theoretic approach puts first things first.sagepub. then. by refusing to single out justification practices for special notice. the participation-theoretic view manages to recoup within a deontological theory of justice at least one important ethical concern that is usually deemed the exclusive province of teleological theories of self-realization. which of these conceptions is better situated to put first things first? As I see it. it offers a more capacious. Second. Both of us eschew as sectarian the strategy espoused by Honneth. His approach portrays persons as givers and receivers of justifications. which concerns the social ontology of normative critique. and historically open-ended view of social personhood. which emerge and disappear in a historically open-ended process and. my approach has at least two advantages over Forst’s. my approach posits a close relation between the liberal value of individual autonomy and social belonging. who participate with one another in the social practice of exchanging public reasons. but in all the major arenas and practices that comprise their form of life. it satisfies Forst’s desideratum that a critical theory avoid as far as possible sacrificing other ethical concerns. depicts persons as co-participants in an indeterminate multiplicity of social practices. it is less vulnerable to the charge of excessive rationalism.27 In this way. Nevertheless. Forst and I hold different political conceptions of the person. even while prioritizing justice. critical theory should track the effects of power asymmetries across the entire range of social practices in contemporary society. Here. whose (equal) autonomy depends on their ability to interact with one another as peers – not only in political reasoning. persons are socially situated but potentially autonomous fellow at Universitaetsbibliothek on November 23. too. each of us follows John Rawls in correlating her or his theory with a more limited. which purports to ground critical theory on a comprehensive (albeit ‘formal’) account of human being. it is necessary to separate out the points on which we differ from the views we share. namely. Rather. it construes institutionalized obstacles to participatory parity as impediments not only to equal autonomy but also to full membership in society. On this count. According the latter a non-communitarian interpretation. alienation from one’s society and fellow actors. too. For me. Rather. cannot be specified once and for all. Thus. 2011 . This brings me to my fourth moral-philosophical difference with Forst. in contrast. the practices of justification that Forst makes central are but one of the many social practices in which individuals ought to be able to exercise their free and equal personhood by participating with one another as peers.

Forst’s norm now presents itself as one of several such applications. scope. then the equal right to justification serves in effect for him as a kind of synecdoche for society-at-large. there are good reasons for preferring my approach to Forst’s with respect to all four issues considered here: the object. If that is right. and voice needed to avoid exclusion or marginalization in any major arena of social interaction. Exclusion. Suppose. this interpretation assumes the validity of my approach.Fraser: Identity. assuming the two views are construed as rivals. the result was the same: each contributor pushed me to devise new formulations of my position that go beyond. I think he would agree. as in social theory. Thus. as I said at the outset. if not the letter. those that appear in that volume. but perhaps it captures the spirit. 5. It is a rare privilege to have the opportunity to respond to four such interesting and intelligent articles. throughout the whole of social life. that a just society requires that no one be deprived of the resources. standing. each of which specifies the meaning of parity in relation to a given type of social practice. and (I hope) improve upon. if I understand him. in moral philosophy. the practice of demanding and receiving political justifications. of Forst’s as well. But the mere fact that I can imagine interpreting him in this way shows how close in spirit our views really are. each symposiast’s article inspired me to think more deeply than I had before about key aspects of the view I elaborated in Redistribution or Recognition? Whether the primary focus of a critic’s article was political or philosophical. that in such a society no one would be structurally excluded from or marginalized in any social arena of real significance. Certainly. Read this way. it not only promotes but also models the sort of egalitarian social relations that justice requires more broadly. And Forst would agree too. modality.sagepub. No longer the fundamental principle of justice. his norm of justificatory fairness appears as an application of the principle of participatory parity within one important but restricted type of social practice – namely. I have sought to forward objectives we hold in common. 2011 . are at Universitaetsbibliothek on November 23. Conclusion Let me conclude on a note of gratitude. Different as they are. Our disagreements. however. he too envisions a maximally just society as one in which no one is disrespected as a result of institutionalized power asymmetries in any social practice that is essential to full membership.28 335 Downloaded from ept. and Critique In general. As I read him. No author could ask for anything more. premised on a shared understanding of the basic shape and point of critical theory. It follows. we reject that interpretation in favor of one that regards Forst’s view as a special case of mine. Perhaps I read too much of myself into Forst. then. then. In defending my participation-theoretic view here. and social ontology of normative critique. the participation-theoretic conception of justice appears to do a better job of putting first things first.

sagepub. which depends on the character of the society in question. vol. 5. L. Repr. New Left Review 212 (July/Aug. Ruge. in the type of obstacle to participatory parity that each confronts – hence in the type of remedy each projects as the means to parity. But here she decontextualizes my argument. 336 Downloaded from ept. 4). the requirement of participatory parity applies broadly. New Left Review 36 (Nov. as I noted above. 2. ‘No redistribution without recognition’. 7. ‘No recognition without redistribution’. Redistribution or Recognition?. 11. Here I break with the common view that focuses exclusively on political participation. Here. one might well have preferred the converse slogan.European Journal of Political Theory 6(3) Notes 1. On this point. Amsterdam: Van Gorcum. in all the major arenas of social life. Nicolaus and Victoria Ortiz. For my use of Gorz and my later account. in contrast. What distinguishes these types from one another is neither the standard by which they are judged nor the goal at which they aim. I hold that all recognition claims should be judged by the single standard of parity of participation. 1 of Fraser and Honneth. London: Routledge. at pp. 8–11. three-dimensional framework in Fraser (2005) Reframing Justice: The 2004 Spinoza Lectures. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press. Theory. however. 79–82. and deconstructive recognition. from another. see Nancy Fraser (2003) ‘Social Justice in the Age of Identity Politics’ ch. tr. aimed at parity. The difference lies. 2. She claims that I distinguish one type of recognition claim. New York: Vintage Books. Alcoff misunderstands my position. 356–8. 6. neglecting to see it as an intervention in a specific historical conjuncture: the rise of neoliberalism. See also Fraser (2005) ‘Reframing Justice in a Globalizing World’. while noting that in an earlier era of reductiveeconomistic social democracy. 9. Culture and Society. 8). Seeking to explain the asymmetry. 3. the weakening of social egalitarian ideals. September 1843’. Karl Marx (1975) ‘Letter to A. at Universitaetsbibliothek on November 23. Rodney Livingstone and Gregor Benton. André Gorz (1967) Strategy for Labor: A Radical Proposal. I first elaborated this revised. which applies also to claims for redistribution. For me. pp. tr. Because access to these arenas is so fundamental for people’s well-being. often understood very narrowly in terms of voting. 81–82. Manuel Castells (1997) The Information Age: Economy. Society and Culture. in Nancy Fraser (1997) Justice Interruptus: Critical Reflections on the ‘Postsocialist’ Condition. London: Blackwell. p. in Nathalie Karagiannis and Peter Wagner (eds) Varieties of World-Making: Beyond Globalization. In fact. rather. Fraser (2005. This is the context in which I have commended the slogan. and the surge of identity politics. 8. Coletti.): 68–93. pp. ed. Martin A. in Karl Marx: Early Writings. in n. too. pp. 10. Nancy Fraser (1995) ‘From Redistribution to Recognition? Dilemmas of Justice in a “Postsocialist” Age’. the parity standard applies equally to claims for universalist. Noting my worry that recognition is displacing redistribution. 209.–Dec. 2011 . Alcoff misunderstands my view. The Power of Identity. she concludes that I must value redistribution over recognition. she observes that I fail to express any parallel concern that redistribution could displace recognition. Whether exclusion from one sphere converts into exclusion from others is in the end an empirical question. Fraser (n. Kate Nash and Vikki Bell (forthcoming) ‘The Politics of Framing: An Interview with Nancy Fraser’. aimed at identity. 4. Fraser (2006) ‘Democratic Justice in a Globalizing Age: Thematizing the Problem of the Frame’. Boston: Beacon Press. 193–215.): 69–88. Thus. I construe all of them as ‘spheres of justice’ in which the requirement of participatory parity applies. London and New York: Routledge.

in From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology. Katherine C. Cambridge: Belknap Press. ed. The phrase ‘good enough deliberation’ was suggested to me by Bert van den Brink (personal communication). MA: South End Press. In fact. in n. I develop the idea in ‘Who Counts? Thematizing the Question of the Frame’. Nancy Fraser (1986) ‘Toward a Discourse Ethic of Solidarity’. 263–4. 19. in Craig Calhoun (ed. edn. Constellations 10(3): 538. film dir. 8).Fraser: Identity. London: Verso. I made a similar argument several years ago in response to Iris Marion Young. 20. For me. Oxford: Oxford University Press. David D. 109–42. 21. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press and Polity Press. in Nancy Fraser. and Critique 12. Discourse and Gender in Contemporary Social Theory. James Ferguson (1999) ‘Global Disconnect: Abjection and the Aftermath of Modernism’. Cambridge. in Gilbert Herdt (ed. 399. 25. Nancy Fraser (1991) ‘Rethinking the Public Sphere: A Contribution to the Critique of Actually Existing Democracy’. Adding Insult to Injury: Social Justice and the Politics of Recognition. 22. in n. repr.(now three-)dimensional. Exclusion. pp. Status.sagepub. (1989a) ‘Talking about Needs: Interpretive Contests as Political Conflicts in Welfare-State Societies’. 24. Wright Mills. I will return to this point in replying to Forst. Expectations of Modernity: Myths and Meanings of Urban Life on the Zambian Copperbelt.). 234–54. accordingly. New Left Review 223(May/June): 126–9. See her (1997) ‘Unruly Categories: A Critique of Nancy Fraser’s Dual Systems Theory’. but normatively monist. (1989b) ‘Struggle over Needs: Outline of a Socialist-Feminist Critical Theory of Late-Capitalist Political Culture’. Fraser (2006. June Nash (2001) Mayan Visions: The Quest for Autonomy in an Age of Globalization. reprinted in Fraser (1997. Sexual Cultures and Migration in the Era of AIDS: Anthropological and Demographic Perspectives. Kevin Olson (forthcoming) ‘Participatory Parity and Democratic Justice’. New York: Columbia University Press. I have my own analogue of the democratic minimum in the notion of ‘good enough deliberation’. John Rawls (1999) A Theory of Justice. Celentano. my view is social-ontologically two. ibid. pp. Dan La Botz (1995) Democracy in Mexico: Peasant Rebellion and Political Reform. Hans H. Nancy Fraser (1997) ‘A Rejoinder to Iris Young’. 18. The first interpretation is correct. 8). Cambridge. (2004) Darwin’s Nightmare. Max Weber (1958) ‘Class. in my reply to Forst. Unruly Practices: Power. 14. as I shall explain shortly. 188–190. pp. Kevin Olson. Forst suggests that my theory can be interpreted in two ways: as normatively monist or as normatively dualist. whom I also regard as a proponent and practitioner of gratuitous pluralism. 29–35. Bond. pp. in Nancy Fraser. 26. MA: MIT Press. 266–7. 17. ed. I owe this point to Cristina Lafont (oral intervention in discussion of this exchange at 337 Downloaded from ept. Gerth and C. New Left Review 222(March/April): 147–60. Celluloid Dreams/International Film Circuit. in Fraser (2005. London: Routledge. 3). 185–215. 2011 . Thus. Hubert Sauper. 3– at Universitaetsbibliothek on November 23. rev. I subsume both (all) of them under the single overarching norm of participatory parity. 27. 13. Ethics 99(2): 291–313. 15. New York: Oxford University Press. in Ferguson. pp. Sukanya Phonsophakul. 23.) Habermas and the Public Sphere. Although I conceive distribution and recognition (and now representation) as two (now three) conceptually irreducible dimensions of justice. pp. Berkeley: University of California Press. Praxis International 5(4): 425–9. John Rawls (1996) Political Liberalism. 16. Ingrid Robeyns (2003) ‘Is Nancy Fraser’s Critique of Theories of Distributive Justice Justified?’. Party’. and Chayan Vaddhanaphuti (1997) ‘Mobility and Migration: Female Commercial Sex Work and the HIV Epidemic in Northern Thailand’. all injustices violate a single normative principle. in n.

but he also remained patient and gracious despite my slowness in preparing this response. April 2006). Not only did he organize and guest-edit this symposium. Chicago. I am grateful. 28. too. to Amy at Universitaetsbibliothek on November 23. Maria Pia Lara. 338 Downloaded from ept. Central Division meetings of the American Philosophical Association. 2011 . Special thanks to Nikolas Kompridis. and Eli Zaretsky for helpful comments on the present text.European Journal of Political Theory 6(3) session on ‘Redistribution or Recognition?’.