Axel Honneth 1995

Patterns of Intersubjective Recognition: Love, Rights, and Solidarity

Source: Chapter 5 of Axel Honneth: The Struggle for Recognition. The Moral Grammar of Social Conflicts. 1995. Polity Press.

The theoretical resources found in Mead’s social psychology made it possible to give Hegel’s theory of a ‘struggle for recognition’ a ‘materialist’ reformulation. What re-emerged in Mead, in the altered form of an empirical hypothesis, was not only the general premise of the early Hegel — that practical identity-formation presupposes intersubjective recognition — but also post-metaphysical, naturalistic equivalents for the conceptual distinctions among various stages of recognition and even the wide-reaching assertion of a struggle mediating between these stages. Thus, by drawing on Mead’s social psychology, it becomes possible to take the idea that the young Hegel outlined in his Jena writings with such brilliant rudimentariness and make it the guiding thread of a social theory with normative content. The intention of this is to explain processes of social change by referring to the normative demands that are, structurally speaking, internal to the relationship of mutual recognition.

The point of departure for a social theory of this sort has to be the basic claim on which the pragmatist Mead and the early Hegel are agreed in principle: the reproduction of social life is governed by the imperative of mutual recognition, because one can develop a practical relation-to-self only when one has learned to view oneself, from the normative perspective of one’s partners in interaction, as their social addressee. Admittedly, this general premise has explanatory power only when it includes a dynamic element. The aforementioned imperative, which is anchored in the social life-process, provides the normative pressure that compels individuals to remove constraints on the meaning of mutual recognition, since it is only by doing so that they are able to express socially the continually expanding claims of their subjectivity. To this extent, the species-historical process of individualization presupposes an expansion of the relations of mutual recognition. The developmental hypothesis thus outlined can, however, become a building block for a social theory only to the degree to which it can be linked back to events within social life — practice. It is by way of the morally motivated struggles of social groups — their collective attempt to establish, institutionally and culturally, expanded forms of reciprocal recognition — that the normatively directional change of societies proceeds. In his theory of recognition, Hegel made this shift to a model of conflict in an idealistic manner, whereas Mead made it in a clearly ‘materialist’ manner. In doing so, both thinkers interpreted social struggle, contrary to the tradition reaching from Machiavelli through Hobbes to Nietzsche, in such a way that social struggle could become a structuring force in the moral development of society. But before I can outline at least a few of the essential features of the social theory I have in mind, two presuppositions must first be systematically clarified, presuppositions that are inherent but not developed in Hegel’s and Mead’s theories of recognition. First, the three-part division that both authors appear to make among forms of recognition needs a justification that goes beyond what has been said thus far. The extent to which such a distinction actually fits anything in the structure of social relations is something that must be demonstrated — independently of the texts discussed until now — by showing that this way of distinguishing phenomena can be brought into approximate agreement with the results of empirical research. In what follows, this demonstration is to take the form of a phenomenologically oriented typology that aims to describe the three patterns of recognition in such a way that they can be checked empirically against the data from individual sciences. Central here will be evidence for the claim that the various forms of reciprocal recognition can, in fact, be mapped onto different levels of the practical relation-to-self in the way suggested, in vague outline, in Mead’s social psychology. On the basis of this typology, one can approach the second task that Hegel and Mead bequeathed to us in failing to clarify a crucial implication of their theoretical ideas. Both thinkers were in fact equally unable to identify accurately the social experiences that would generate the pressure under which struggles for recognition would emerge within the historical process. Neither in Hegel nor in Mead does one find a systematic consideration of those forms of disrespect that, as negative equivalents for the corresponding relations of recognition, could enable social actors to realize that they are being denied recognition. In chapter 6, therefore, the attempt will be made to close this gap in the account by systematically separating different types of denigration and insult. This will link back to the typology of forms of recognition in that forms of disrespect will be distinguished according to which level of a person’s intersubjectively acquired relation-to-self they injure or even destroy.

Although Mead has no appropriate replacement for the romantic concept of ‘love’ to be found in Hegel’s writings, his theory ultimately does, like Hegel’s, contain a distinction between three forms of mutual recognition: the emotional concern familiar from relationships of love and friendship is distinguished from legal recognition and approval associated with solidarity as particular ways of granting recognition. Already in Hegel, these three patterns of reciprocity are mapped onto particular concepts of the person in the sense that the subjective autonomy of the individual increases with each stage of mutual regard. But not until Mead does the intuition implicit in this acquire the systematic cast of an empirical hypothesis, according to which, in the sequence of the three forms of recognition, the person’s relation-to-self gradually becomes increasingly positive. Furthermore, both thinkers the author of the Realphilosophie as well as the American pragmatist are attempting to locate the different forms of recognition in separate spheres of the reproduction of society. Early in his political philosophy, Hegel distinguishes family, civil society, and State. In Mead, one can discern a tendency to set primary relationships to concrete others apart from legal relations and the sphere of work as two different ways of realizing the generalized other.

One of the things that speaks in favour of the systematic structure inherent in these different three-part divisions is the astonishing manner in which these differentiations are reflected in a number of other social philosophers. Max Scheler, for example, distinguishes ‘life-community’, ‘society’, and (based on solidarity). ‘community of persons’ as three ‘essential social units’, which, like Hegel and Mead, he associates with developmental stages of human personhood. In Plessner’s ‘Bounds of Community’ — which, to be sure, is heavily dependent on Scheler’s social ontology — one finds a distinction, with regard to various degrees of intersubjective trust, between the three spheres of primary bonds, commerce within society, and the community of shared concerns [Sachgemeinschaft]. But no matter how extensive such a list of historical interconnections among theories might be, it could hardly do more than demonstrate that a division of social life into three spheres of interaction has a high degree of plausibility. It is evidently quite natural to distinguish forms of social integration according to whether they occur via emotional bonds, the granting of rights, or a shared orientation to values. Part of what is distinctive about the theories advocated by Hegel and Mead is that they trace these three spheres of interaction back to different patterns of mutual recognition, which are each supposed to correspond, furthermore, to a particular potential for moral development and to distinct types of individual relations-to-self. In order to be able to examine these ambitious claims, one needs to reconstruct the vividly familiar content of love, rights, and solidarity to the point at which it becomes possible to make fruitful connections to the results of research in individual sciences. In testing this conception against evidence from empirical studies, it will then have to be seen whether the three patterns of relationship can, in fact, be distinguished in such a way that they form independent types with regard to (a) the medium of recognition, (b) the form of the relation-to-self made possible, and (c) the potential for moral development.


In order to avoid having to speak of ‘love’ only in the restricted sense that the concept has acquired since Romanticism’s revaluation of intimate sexual relationships, it is initially advisable to follow a usage that is as neutral as possible. Love relationships are to be understood here as referring to primary relationships insofar as they — on the model of friendships, parent-child relationships, as well as erotic relationships between lovers — are constituted by strong emotional attachments among a small number of people. This proposed usage overlaps with Hegel’s in that, for him too, ‘love’ denotes more than a sexually charged relationship between a man and a woman. Although his early writings in particular are still strongly influenced by early Romanticism’s emphasis on emotional bonds between the sexes, it became clear in the course of our interpretation that he applies the concept also, for example, to the affectional relationship between parents and children within the family. Thus, for Hegel, love represents the first stage of reciprocal recognition, because in it subjects mutually confirm each other with regard to the concrete nature of their needs and thereby recognize each other as needy creatures. In the reciprocal experience of loving care, both subjects know themselves to be united in their neediness, in their dependence on each other. Since, moreover, needs and emotions can, to a certain extent, only gain ‘confirmation’ by being directly satisfied or reciprocated, recognition itself must possess the character of affective approval or encouragement. This recognition relationship is thus also necessarily tied to the physical existence of concrete others who show each other feelings of particular esteem. The key for translating this topic into a context of scientific research is represented by Hegel’s formulation, according to which love has to be understood as ‘being oneself in another’. This way of speaking of primary affectional relationships as depending on a precarious balance between independence and attachment is much the same as the approach taken, as part of an attempt to determine the causes of pathological disorders, by psychoanalytic object-relations theory. With the turn in psychoanalysis to interactions in early childhood, affectional attachment to other persons is revealed to be a process whose success is dependent on the mutual maintenance of a tension between symbiotic self-sacrifice and individual self-assertion. For this reason, the research tradition of object-relations theory is especially well suited to rendering love intelligible as the interactive relationship that forms the basis for a particular pattern of reciprocal recognition.

In object-relations theory, conclusions are drawn, on the basis of the therapeutic analysis of relational pathologies, as to the conditions that can lead to a successful form of emotional attachment to other persons. Of course, before psychoanalysis could be brought to this sort of concentration on the interpersonal aspects of human action, a series of theoretical impulses were required, which were able to put into question the orthodox conception of how the child’s instinctual life develops. For Freud and his followers, the child’s interaction partners were initially significant only to the degree to which they acted as the objects of libidinal charges stemming from the intrapsychic conflict between unconscious instinctual demands and gradually emerging ego-controls. Beyond this merely intermediate, secondary role, only the mother was granted the independent status of a significant other, because the threatened loss of the mother in the phase of psychological helplessness of the infant was considered to be the cause of all more mature varieties of anxiety. Since this established a picture of the psychological development of children in which their relations to other persons were viewed merely as a function of the unfolding of libidinal instincts, the empirical studies of Rend Spitz were enough to raise the first doubts about this approach. For what his observations showed was that the withdrawal of maternal care also led to severe disturbances in the behaviour of the infant in cases in which otherwise all of its physical needs were taken care of. As Morris Eagle has shown in his overview, Recent Developments in Psychoanalysis, this first indication of the independent significance of emotional bonds for early childhood development was supported and strengthened by a series of further results from psychological research. Experimental investigations in ethology were able to demonstrate that the attachment of baby primates to their so-called substitute mothers cannot stem from an experience of the satisfaction of instincts but rather from the experience of ‘comfort’. The path-breaking studies by John Bowlby led to the conclusion that human infants develop an active willingness to produce interpersonal proximity, which provides the basis for all later forms of affectional bonds. And Daniel Stem, inspired largely by the research of Spitz and Bowlby, has been able to provide convincing evidence for a conception of the interaction between ‘mother’ and child as a highly complex process, in which both participants acquire, through practice, the capacity for the shared experience of emotions and perceptions.

All of this must have been extremely unsettling for psychoanalysis, or at least for those parts of the psychoanalytical world — as could be found in Britain and the USA after the war — that were still receptive to the results of research. For, contrary to the Freudian structural model of the ego and the id, the evidence seemed to point to the lasting significance of very early, prelinguistic interactive experiences. If the socialization process was predominantly dependent on experiences that children have in their first interpersonal relationships, then one could no longer maintain the orthodox idea that psychological development occurred as a sequence of organizational forms of ‘monological’ relations between libidinal drives and ego-capacity. Instead, the conceptual framework of psychoanalysis was in need of a fundamental extension along the separate dimension of the social interactions in which, through emotional relationships to other persons, children learn to see themselves as independent subjects. Finally, this theoretical conclusion was supported on the therapeutic side by the discovery that a growing number of patients suffered from mental illnesses that could not be traced back to intrapsychic conflicts between ego and id components but rather only to interpersonal disturbances in the process of the child’s detachment. As they appeared in symptoms of borderline disorders or narcissism, these pathologies forced therapists to draw on explanatory approaches that accorded independent significance to the mutual bonds between children and significant others and that were thus incompatible with orthodox ideas.

Object-relations theory represents the first attempt at a conceptual response to the various challenges just outlined. It systematically takes into account the increased insight into the psychological status of interactive experiences in early childhood by supplementing the organization of libidinal drives with affective relationships to other persons as a second component of the maturational process. But what makes object-relations theory seem especially well suited to the purposes of a phenomenology of recognition relations is not the intersubjectivist extension of the psychoanalytic framework of explanation as such. Rather, it can convincingly portray love as a particular form of recognition only owing to the specific way in which it makes the success of affectional bonds dependent on the capacity, acquired in early childhood, to strike a balance between symbiosis and self-assertion. The path to this central insight, in which the intuitions of the young Hegel are confirmed to a surprising degree, was prepared by the English psychoanalyst Donald W. Winnicott. Since then, drawing on his writings, Jessica Benjamin has developed a first attempt at a psychoanalytic interpretation of the love relationship as a process of mutual recognition.

Winnicott wrote from the perspective of a psychoanalytically oriented paediatrician attempting, in the context of treating mental behavioural disorders, to gain an understanding of the ‘good-enough’ conditions for the socialization of young children. What separates him from the approach found in the orthodox tradition of psychoanalysis is an insight that can easily be fitted into the theoretical framework constructed by Hegel and Mead. In the first months of life, infants are so dependent on the practical extension of their behaviour via the care they receive that it is a misleading abstraction on the part of psychoanalytic research to study the infant in isolation from all significant others, as an independent object of inquiry. The care with which the ‘mother’ keeps the newborn baby alive is not added to the child’s behaviour as something secondary but is rather merged with the child in such a way that one can plausibly assume that every human life begins with a phase of undifferentiated intersubjectivity, that is, of symbiosis. For Winnicott, this involves more than what Freudian theory describes under the heading of ‘primary narcissism’. Not only does the infant hallucinate that all ‘maternal’ care flows from the infant’s own omnipotence, but the mother’ also comes to perceive, conversely, all of her child’s reaction’s to be part and parcel of one single cycle of action. This initial, mutually experienced behavioural unit, for which the concept ‘primary intersubjectivity’ has established itself, raises the central question that occupied Winnicott during his life: how are we to conceive of the interactional process by which ‘mother’ and child are able to detach themselves from a state of undifferentiated oneness in such a way that, in the end, they learn to accept and love each other as independent persons? Even just the formulation of the question indicates that Winnicott conceived the child’s maturational process from the start as a task that can only be accomplished collectively, through the intersubjective interplay of ‘mother’ and child. Since both subjects are initially included in the state of symbiotic oneness in virtue of their active accomplishments, they must, as it were, learn from each other how to differentiate themselves as independent entities. Accordingly, the concepts that Winnicott uses to characterize the individual phases of this maturational process are always at the same time descriptions not merely of the psychological situation of one participant — the child — but rather of each of the states of the relationship between the ‘mother’ and the child. The progress that the child’s development must make if it is to lead to a psychologically healthy personality is read off changes in the structure of a system of interactions and not off transformations in the organization of individual drive potential. To designate the first phase — that is, the relationship of symbiotic togetherness that begins immediately after birth Winnicott generally introduces the category of ‘absolute dependency’. Here. both partners to interaction are entirely dependent on each other for the satisfaction of their needs and are incapable of individually demarcating themselves from each other. On the other hand, because the ‘mother’ identified herself projectively with the baby in the course of the pregnancy. she experiences the infant’s helpless neediness as a lack of her own sensitivity. For this reason, her emotional attention is so completely devoted to the child that she learns to adapt her care and concern, as if out of an inner urge, to the infant’s changing (and yet, as it were, empathically experienced) requirements. Corresponding to this precarious dependence of the ‘mother’ — whom Winnicott assumes to need the protective recognition of a third party — there is, on the other hand, the utter helplessness of the infant. who is unable to articulate his or her physical and emotional needs communicatively. During the first months of life, the child is incapable of differentiating between self and environment, and moves within a horizon of experience, the continuity of which can only be assured by the supplemental assistance of a partner in interaction. To the extent that vitally, necessary qualities of this undifferentiated experiential world include not only the release of instinctual tensions but also the provision of tender comfort, infants are helplessly dependent on the ‘mother’ to provide them with love by ‘holding’ them in the necessary ways. It is only in the protective space of ‘being held’ that infants can learn to coordinate their sensory and motor experiences around a single centre and thereby to develop a body-scheme. Because the activity of ‘holding’ is so extraordinarily significant for child development, Winnicott occasionally refers to the state of being merged as the ‘holding phase’.

Since, in this phase of symbiotic unity, ‘mother’ and child are mutually dependent on each other, they are also only able to end this phase once each of them has been able to acquire a bit of new-found independence. For the mother’, this emancipatory shift begins at the moment in which she can once again expand her social field of attention, as her primary, bodily identification with the infant begins to disperse. The resumption of an everyday routine and the renewed openness to family and friends forces her to deny the child immediate gratification of the child’s needs — which she still spontaneously intuits — in that she increasingly leaves the child alone for long periods of time. Corresponding to the ‘mother’s’ ‘graduated de-adaptation’, there is an intellectual development, on the part of the infant, in which the expansion of conditioned reflexes is accompanied by the capacity for cognitive differentiation between self and environment. At six months, on average, the child begins to interpret acoustic and optical signals as clues to the future satisfaction of needs, so that the child is slowly able to endure the temporary absence of the ‘mother’. In thereby experiencing, for the first time, the ‘mother’ as something in the world that is outside of his or her omnipotent control, the child simultaneously begins to become aware of his or her dependence. The infant leaves the phase of ‘absolute dependence’, because the dependence on the ‘mother’ enters his or her field of view in such a way that the child now learns to orient personal impulses toward specific aspects of her care. This new stage of interaction, which Winnicott labels ‘relative dependence’, encompasses all of the decisive steps in the development of the child’s capacity to form attachments. For this reason, he devoted the largest and most instructive part of his analyses to these steps. These analyses depict the emergence, in the relation between mother and child, of the ‘being oneself in another’ that represents the model for all more mature forms of love.

For the child, once the ‘mother’ regains her autonomy and can no longer always be at the child’s disposal, a process of disillusionment sets in, thereby generating a major and difficult challenge. The person who, until this point, had been imagined to be part of the child’s subjective world has gradually slipped out of the child’s omnipotent control, and the child must begin to come to a ‘recognition of [the object] as an entity in its own right’. The child is able to accomplish this task to the extent to which his or her social environment allows for the implementation of two psychological mechanisms, which together help the child work through this new experience emotionally. Winnicott addressed the first of these two mechanisms under the keyword ‘destruction’. The second is presented within the context of his concept of ‘transitional phenomena’.

In response to the gradually acquired awareness of a resistant reality, the infant soon begins to act aggressively, primarily towards the ‘mother’, who is now perceived by the child to be independent herself. As if to rebel against the loss of omnipotence, the infant attempts to destroy her body — which, until then, had been experienced as a source of pleasure — by hitting, biting, and kicking it. In earlier interpretive approaches, these outbursts of aggression were usually linked causally to the frustrations that inevitably set in with the experience of losing omnipotent control. For Winnicott, by contrast, they represent inherently purposive acts, by which the infant unconsciously tests out whether the affectively charged object does, in fact, belong to a reality that is beyond influence and, in that sense, ‘objective’. If the ‘mother’ survives these destructive attacks without taking revenge, the child has thereby, in a manner of speaking, actively placed himself or herself into a world in which he or she exists alongside other subjects. in this sense, the child’s destructive, injurious acts do not represent the expression of an attempt to cope negatively with frustration, but rather comprise the constructive means by which the child can come to recognize the ‘mother’, unambivalently, as ‘an entity in its own right’. If she survived the infant’s destructive experiments as a person capable of resistance — indeed, if she, through her refusals, even provided the child with occasion for fits of temper — then the child will, by integrating its aggressive impulses, become able to love her. In the bond that has now been formed, the child is able to reconcile its (still symbiotically supported) devotion to the ‘mother’ with the experience of standing on its own:

The mother is needed over this time and she is needed because of her survival value. She is an environment-mother and at the same time an object-mother, the object of excited loving. In this latter role she is repeatedly destroyed or damaged. The child gradually comes to integrate these two aspects of the mother and to be able to love and to be affectionate with the surviving mother at the same time.

If we thus conceive the child’s first process of detachment as the result of aggressive behavioural expressions, then there seems to be good reason to follow Jessica Benjamin’s suggestion and introduce the Hegelian ‘struggle for recognition’ here as an instructive explanatory model. For it is indeed only in the attempt to destroy his or her ‘mother’ — that is, in the form of a struggle — that the child realizes that he or she is dependent on the loving care of an independently existing person with claims of her own. But for the ‘mother’, in turn, this means that she too must first learn to accept the independence of the child if she wants to ‘survive’ these destructive attacks in the context of her re-established sphere of activity. What the aggressively charged situation demands of her, in fact, is that she understand the destructive wish-fantasies of her child as something that goes against her own interests and thus as something that can be ascribed to the child alone, as an already independent person. If, in the way just sketched, a first step of mutual demarcation is successfully taken, then mother and child can acknowledge their dependence on each other’s love without having to merge symbiotically.

In a supplementary part of his analyses, Winnicott then claims that the child’s capacity to strike a balance, in this early form, between independence and symbiosis varies with the degree of distortion in the development of a second coping mechanism. He presents this with the help of the concept of ‘transitional objects’. The empirical phenomenon that Winnicott has in mind here consists in the strong tendency of children a few months in age to form highly affectively charged relationships to objects in their physical environment. Such objects — be it part of a toy, the corner of a pillow, or the child’s own thumb — are treated as an exclusive possession, sometimes tenderly loved, sometimes passionately abused. For Winnicott, the key to explaining the function of these transitional objects is the fact that the child’s partners to interaction also situate the objects in a domain of reality, with regard to which the question of fiction or reality becomes unimportant. As if by tacit agreement, they are transferred to an ‘intermediate’ realm, where it is up to the participants to decide whether to view it as belonging to an inner world of mere hallucinations or to the empirical world of objective facts:

Of the transitional object it can be said that it is a matter of agreement between us and the baby that we will never ask the question: ‘Did you conceive of this or was it presented to you from without?’ The important point is that no decision on this point is expected. The question is not to be formulated.

If one takes into consideration the developmental phase in which the discovery of these intermediate objects of significance occurs, then there are grounds for supposing that they represent surrogates for the ‘mother’, who has just been lost to external reality. Because they are ontologically ambiguous in nature, the child can actively use them to keep omnipotence fantasies alive, even after the experience of separation, and can simultaneously use them to creatively probe reality. In this playful yet reality-checking manner of utilization, it also becomes apparent that the function of transitional objects cannot be restricted to the symbiotic appropriation of the role of the ‘mother’ as experienced in the state of merging. The child relates to the objects he or she has selected not only with symbiotic tenderness but also with repeated attacks of rage and attempts to destroy it. Winnicott believes that one can conclude from this that, in the case of transitional objects, one is dealing with ontological links, as it were, that mediate between the primary experience of being merged and the awareness of separateness. In the playful interaction with these affectively charged objects, the child repeatedly attempts to bridge, symbolically, the painful gap between inner and outer reality. The fact that this coincides with the emergence of intersubjectively accepted illusions allows Winnicott to go even one step further and to arrive at a thesis with consequences both far-reaching and difficult to assess. Because this ontological, mediating sphere arises as the solution to a task that people continue to face throughout their lives, it is the psychological origin of all adult interests vis--vis cultural objectivations. Not without a sense for sharpening the speculative point of the matter, Winnicott writes:

It is assumed here that the task of reality-acceptance is never completed, that no human being is free from the strain of relating inner and outer reality, and that relief from this strain is provided by an intermediate area of experience ... which is not challenged (arts, religion, etc.). This intermediate area is in direct continuity with the play area of the small child who is ‘lost’ in play.

This last phrase also offers a clue as to why the concept of ‘transitional objects’ is to be understood as a direct extension of Winnicott’s interpretation of love in terms of a theory of recognition. According to him, the child is capable of being ‘lost’ in interaction with the chosen object only if, after the separation from the symbiotically experienced ‘mother’, the child can generate enough trust in the continuity of her care that he or she is able, under the protection of a felt intersubjectivity, to be alone in a carefree manner. The child’s creativity — indeed, the human faculty of imagination in general — presupposes a ‘capacity to be alone’, which itself can arise only out of a basic confidence in the care of a loved one. From this perspective, far-reaching insights emerge into the connection between creativity and recognition, which are of no further interest to us here. Of central importance, however, for the attempt to reconstruct love as a particular relationship of recognition is Winnicott’s claim that the ability to be alone is dependent on the child’s trust in the continuity of the ‘mother’s’ care. The thesis thus outlined provides some insight into the type of relation-to-self that one can develop when one knows oneself to be loved by a person that one experiences as independent and for whom one, in turn, feels affection or love.

If the ‘mother’ managed to pass the child’s unconscious test by enduring the aggressive attacks without withdrawing her love in revenge, she now belongs, from the perspective of the child, to a painfully accepted external world. As has been said, the child must now become aware, for the first time, of his or her dependence on the ‘mother’s’ care. If the ‘mother’s’ love is lasting and reliable, the child can simultaneously develop, under the umbrella of her intersubjective reliability, a sense of confidence in the social provision of the needs he or she has, and via the psychological path this opens up, a basic capacity to be alone’ gradually unfolds in the child. Winnicott traces the young child’s ability to be alone — in the sense of beginning to discover, without anxiety, his or her ‘own personal life’ — back to the experience of the ‘continued existence of a reliable mother': only to the extent to which there is ‘a good object in the psychic reality of the individual' can he or she become responsive to inner impulses and pursue them in an open, creative way, without fear of being abandoned.

The shift of focus to that part of one’s own self that Mead called the ‘I’ thus presupposes that one trusts the loved person to maintain his or her affection, even when one’s own attention is withdrawn. But this certainty is, for its part, just the outwardly oriented side of a mature confidence that one’s own needs will lastingly be met by the other because one is of unique value to the other. To this extent, the ‘capacity to be alone’ is the practical expression of a form of individual relation-to-self, similar to what Erikson conceived of under the title of ‘trust’. In becoming sure of the ‘mother’s’ love, young children come to trust themselves, which makes it possible for them to be alone without anxiety.

In one of his typically cryptic asides, Winnicott claims that this communicatively protected ability to be alone is ‘the stuff of which friendship is made’. What he is evidently getting at here is the idea that every strong emotional bond between people opens up the possibility of both parties relating to themselves in a relaxed manner, oblivious to their particular situation, much like an infant who can rely on his or her ‘mother’s’ emotional care. This suggestion can be understood as an invitation to identify, in the successful relationship between ‘mother’ and child, a pattern of interaction whose mature reappearance in adult life is an indication of successful affectional bonds to other people. In this way, we put ourselves methodologically in a position to draw conclusions from the maturational processes of early childhood about the communicative structure that makes love a special relationship of mutual recognition.

We can then proceed from the hypothesis that all love relationships are driven by the unconscious recollection of the original experience of merging that characterized the first months of life for ‘mother’ and child. The inner state of symbiotic oneness so radically shapes the experiential scheme of complete satisfaction that it keeps alive, behind the back of the subject and throughout the subject’s life, the desire to be merged with another person. Of course, this desire for merging can only become a feeling of love once, in the unavoidable experience of separation, it has been disappointed in such a way that it henceforth includes the recognition of the other as an independent person. Only a refracted symbiosis enables the emergence of a productive interpersonal balance between the boundary-establishment and boundary-dissolution that, for Winnicott, belongs to the structure of a relationship that has matured through mutual disillusionment. There, the capacity to be alone constitutes the subject-based pole of an intersubjective tension, whose opposing pole is the capacity for boundary-dissolving merging with the other. The act of boundary-dissolution, in which subjects experience themselves to be reconciled with one another, can take a wide variety of forms, depending on the type of bond. In friendships, it may be the shared experience of an unselfconscious conversation or an utterly unforced moment together. In erotic relationships, it is the sexual union in which one knows oneself to be reconciled with the other without difference. But in each case, the process of merging obtains its very condition of possibility solely from the opposite experience of encountering the other as someone who is continually re-establishing his or her boundary. It is only because the assurance of care gives the person who is loved the strength to open up to himself or herself in a relaxed relation-to-self that he or she can become an independent subject with whom oneness can be experienced as a mutual dissolution of boundaries. To this extent, the form of recognition found in love, which Hegel had described as ‘being oneself in another’, represents not an intersubjective state so much as a communicative arc suspended between the experience of being able to be alone and the experience of being merged; ‘ego-relatedness’ and symbiosis here represent mutually required counterweights that, taken together, make it possible for each to be at home in the other.

These conclusions lose some of their speculative character when we consider Jessica Benjamin’s psychoanalytical research, in which she has studied pathological disorders of the love relationship. She too makes use of object-relations theory in order, on the basis of findings regarding the successful course of the separation of ‘mother’ and child, to draw conclusions about the structure of interaction essential to a successful bond between adults. But what primarily concerns her in this connection are the dynamics of the disorders of the love relation ship that are clinically termed ‘masochism’ and ‘sadism’. It then turns out that one of the advantages of the concept of love found in the theory of recognition — as developed here, following Winnicott — is that it makes it possible to grasp failures of this sort in systematic terms, as one-sidedness in the direction of one of the two poles of the balance of recognition. In pathological cases, the reciprocity of the intersubjectively suspended arc is destroyed by the fact that one of the subjects involved is no longer able to detach himself or herself either from the state of egocentric independence or from that of symbiotic dependence. As Benjamin is able to show, these types of one-sidedness interrupt the continual exchange between ego-relatedness and boundary-dissolution, in that they replace it with a rigid scheme of mutual supplementation. The symbiotically sustained dependence of one partner is then ultimately just the complement to the aggressively tinged omnipotence fantasies upon which the other partner is fixated. For Benjamin, there is of course no doubt but that these distortions of the balance of recognition are to be traced back to psychological disturbances, the cause of which lies in the abortive development of the child’s detachment from the ‘mother’. To support her position here, she can draw on therapeutic findings such as those presented by Otto F. Kernberg in his psychoanalytic study of the ‘pathologies of love life’.

What is of interest here, of course, are not the details of this type of genetic deduction but rather the fact that the basic objects of study here are relational disorders that can be assessed within the categories of mutual recognition. For if it is, in fact, possible to derive a criterion for what counts as a disorder, with regard to affectional bonds, from the idea of the unsuccessful reciprocity of certain tensely balanced states, then this also demonstrates, in turn, the empirical appropriateness of a concept of love conceived in terms of a theory of recognition.

From a therapeutic angle, the possibility of reinterpreting the clinical material on relational pathologies in terms of a structural one-sidedness in the balance of recognition supports the idea that, ideally speaking, the love relationship represents a symbiosis refracted by recognition. Accordingly, every prominent model of an instrumentally one-sided relational constellation — to which the love relationship in general is reduced in Sartre’s phenomenological analysis — can be seen as a psychoanalytically explicable deviation from a defensible ideal of interaction. Moreover, because this relationship of recognition prepares the ground for a type of relation-to-self in which subjects mutually acquire basic confidence in themselves, it is both conceptually and genetically prior to every other form of reciprocal recognition. This fundamental level of emotional confidence — not only in the experience of needs and feelings, but also in their expression — which the intersubjective experience of love helps to bring about, constitutes the psychological precondition for the development of all further attitudes of self-respect.


If love can be said to represent a symbiosis refracted by mutual individuation, then, in loving, what one recognizes in the other is evidently only the other’s individual independence. Thus, it might be thought that the love relationship is characterized solely by a type of recognition involving the cognitive acceptance of the other’s independence. That this is not the case can already be seen in the fact that this release into independence has to be supported by an affective confidence in the continuity of shared concern. Without the felt assurance that the loved one will continue to care even after he or she has become independent, it would be impossible for the loving subject to recognize that independence. Because this experience must be mutual in love relationships, recognition is here characterized by a double process, in which the other is released and, at the same time, emotionally tied to the loving subject. Thus, in speaking of recognition as a constitutive element of love, what is meant is an affirmation of independence that is guided — indeed, supported — by care. Every love relationship, whether between friends, lovers, or parent and child, thus presupposes liking and attraction, which are out of individuals’ control. And since positive feelings about other people are not matters of choice, the love relationship cannot be extended at will, beyond the social circle of primary relationships, to cover a larger number of partners to interaction. Although this means that love will always have an element of moral particularism to it, Hegel was nonetheless right to discern within it the structural core of all ethical life. For it is only this symbiotically nourished bond, which emerges through mutually desired demarcation, that produces the degree of basic individual selfconfidence indispensable for autonomous participation in public life.

Compared to the form of recognition found in love — as it is presented here with the help of object-relations theory — legal relations differ in just about every essential respect. The only reason why both spheres of interaction are to be understood as two types of one and the same pattern of socialization is that the logic of each cannot be adequately explained without appeal to the same mechanism of reciprocal recognition. In the case of law, Hegel and Mead drew this connection on the basis of the fact that we can only come to understand ourselves as the bearers of rights when we know, in turn, what various normative obligations we must keep vis--vis others: only once we have taken the perspective of the ‘generalized other’, which teaches us to recognize the other members of the community as the bearers of rights, can we also understand ourselves to be legal persons, in the sense that we can be sure that certain of our claims will be met.

In his later years, Hegel once again presented, with the desired clarity, this necessary interconnection, which allowed both him and Mead to conceive legal relations as a form of mutual recognition. In the summary of the Encyclopedia, he wrote:

[I]n the state ... man is recognized and treated as a rational being, as free, as a person; and the individual, on his side, makes himself worthy of this recognition by overcoming the natural state of his self-consciousness and obeying a universal, the will that is in essence and actuality will, the law; he behaves, therefore, toward others in a manner that is universally valid, recognizing them — as he wishes others to recognize him — as free, as persons.

Admittedly, owing to the use of the predicate ‘free’, the formulation also makes clear that Hegel always intends the legal form of recognition to refer to the specific constitution of modern legal relations, because it is only their claim that inherently applies to all people as free and equal beings. What mattered to him was demonstrating that the personal autonomy of the individual owes its existence to a particular mode of reciprocal recognition that is incorporated in positive law. In his concept of the ‘generalized other’, by contrast, Mead was initially only interested in the logic of legal recognition as such. This difference, which we have thus far ignored in our historical reconstruction, must be clarified, at least in rough outline, before we can answer the question as to which specific type of recognition (along with the corresponding relation-to-self) is structurally inherent in legal relations. For in the distinction between tradition-bound and posttraditional law, it becomes clear that, unlike the case of love, the particular form of reciprocity found in legal recognition can emerge only in the course of a historical development.

As we saw in the discussion of Mead’s social psychology, the concept of ‘legal recognition’ refers, in the first place, only to the situation in which self and other respect each other as legal subjects for the sole reason that they are both aware of the social norms by which rights and duties are distributed in their community. A definition of this sort, however, lacks specifics as to both the type of rights accorded to individuals and the mode of legitimation by which they are generated within the society. Rather, what the definition refers to is just the fundamental fact that one can count as the bearer of rights of some kind only if one is socially recognized as a member of a community. For the individual, the socially accepted role of being the member of a social collective that is organized on the basis of the division of labour gives rise to certain rights, and the individual can normally ensure that these rights are adhered to by calling upon an authorized, sanctioning force. This extremely weak concept of a legal order is well suited to revealing the general features of legal recognition in traditional societies. As long as an individual’s legitimate claims are not yet infused with the universalistic principles of post-conventional morality, they amount to nothing more than the authority accorded to that individual as a member of a particular concrete community. Because his concept of the generalized other refers, in the first instance, to this sort of basic system of cooperative rights and duties, Mead had good reasons for attaching only limited normative significance to legal recognition. Here, the individual subject is recognized solely for its legitimate membership in a social collective organized on the basis of the division of labour. As we have already seen, even this traditional form of legal recognition grants one society’s protection for one’s human ‘dignity’. But this is still completely fused with the social role accorded to one within the context of a generally unequal distribution of rights and burdens.

By contrast, the structure from which Hegel can derive his definitions of the legal person only takes on the legal form of recognition once it becomes dependent on the premises of a universalist conception of morality. With the transition to modernity, the post-conventional principles that had already been developed in philosophy and political theory made their way into established law and submitted it to the constraints of justification associated with the idea of rational agreement on disputed norms. From this point on, the legal system can be understood as the expression of the universalizable interests of all members of society, so that, according to the demand internal to it, exceptions and privileges are no longer admissible. Since, in this connection, a willingness to adhere to legal norms can only be expected of partners to interaction if they have, in principle, been able to agree to the norms as free and equal beings, a new and highly demanding form of reciprocity enters the relationship of recognition based on rights. In obeying the law, legal subjects recognize each other as persons capable of autonomously making reasonable decisions about moral norms. For this reason, Hegel’s characterizations, unlike those of Mead, apply to the legal order only to the degree to which it has been able to detach itself from the self-evident authority of ethical traditions and is reoriented towards a universalistic principle of justification.

This distinction gives rise to two questions concerning the structural characteristics that legal recognition has acquired under conditions of modern legal relations. First, we need to clarify the requisite structure of the form of recognition that brings to light the same quality of individual autonomy in all members of the community of citizens. One could already have learned from the young Hegel that this type of universal respect is not to be conceived of as an affective attitude but rather only as a purely cognitive accomplishment of comprehension, which sets almost internal limits on emotional promptings. To this extent, what will have to be explained is the constitution of a type of respect that, on the one hand, is supposed to be detached from feelings of liking and affection and yet, on the other hand, can actually influence individual behaviour.

Second, the question must be answered as to what it can mean to say that, under conditions set by modern legal relations, subjects reciprocally recognize each other with regard to their status as morally responsible. This trait, which is supposed to be shared by all subjects, cannot be taken to refer to human abilities whose scope or content is determined once and for all. It will rather turn out to be the case that the essential indeterminacy as to what constitutes the status of a responsible person leads to a structural openness on the part of modern law to a gradual increase in inclusivity and precision.

Although we were able to back up the explication of the form of recognition found in love with empirical research, this route is not available with respect to these two questions. I must instead be content here to sketch the answers with the help of an empirically supported conceptual analysis. The claim will be that, with the transition to modernity, individual rights have become detached from concrete role expectations because they must, from that point on, be ascribed in principle to every human individual as a free being. If this brief account turns out to be correct, then this already provides an indirect indication of the new character of legal recognition. We can take it for granted that, for tradition-bound legal relations, the recognition of someone as a legal person is, to a certain extent, still bound up with the social esteem accorded to individual members of society in light of their social status. The conventional ethical life of such a community constitutes a normative horizon in which the multiplicity of individual rights and duties remains tied to differently valued tasks within a system of social cooperation. Legal recognition is thus still situated hierarchically, in terms of the esteem that each individual enjoys as the bearer of a role, and this linkage breaks down only in the course of a historical process that submits legal relations to the requirements of post-conventional morality. From that point on, recognition of someone as a legal person — which, according to its inherent idea, must be directed toward every subject to the same degree — comes to be sufficiently separated from the level of social esteem for that person, so that two different forms of respect emerge, whose manner of functioning can also be analysed only separately. The subject-matter thus outlined reappears in the discussions that have been going on since the days of Kant and Schiller about the idea of respect or regard for other persons? in the course of these discussions, a tendency emerged of drawing the same dividing-line between the two semantic aspects of ‘respect’ that first arose with the uncoupling of legal recognition from social esteem. In this connection, the context of ‘law’ will occupy us with the first usage of the concept, whereas it is the second semantic aspect that will be of interest for the explication of the form of recognition found in ‘communities of value’.

Already towards the end of the last century, Rudolph von Ihering made a distinction with regard to the concept of ‘respect’ that broadly supports the historical decoupling of legal recognition and social esteem. In the second volume of his book on the ‘purpose within law’ — which, largely for methodological reasons, was greatly to influence the development of legal studies in Germany — he worked out the categorial connection between the various forms of conduct that can contribute to the ‘ethical’ integration of a society. Because such patterns of action are composed, according to him, primarily of expressions of mutual recognition and respect, he had to attempt to distinguish, from a systematic point of view, different types of social respect. The fundamental division that Ihering arrived at in his conceptual analysis stems from the various possible ways of answering the question as to what it is about another human being that is respected: in the case of what Ihering himself calls ‘legal recognition’, the idea is expressed that every human subject must be considered to be an ‘end in itself’, whereas ‘social regard’ emphasizes the ‘worth’ of an individual, insofar as it can be measured according to criteria of social relevance. As the use of the Kantian formulation indicates, we are dealing in the first case with universal respect for the ‘freedom of the will of the person’, and in the second case, by contrast, with the recognition of individual achievements, whose value is measured by the degree to which society deems them significant. Thus, the legal recognition of a human being as a person cannot admit of any further degrees, while the esteem for his or her traits and abilities appeals at least implicitly to a standard, in terms of which their ‘more’ or ‘less’ has to be determined. For Ihering, these distinctions primarily have the function of allowing for a theoretically informed analysis of the customs and mores in which social esteem could historically take shape. But because his observations do not go beyond the bounds of the framework thus set out, the question remains unanswered of how to define accurately the detailed structure of legal recognition. Of some assistance here are the recent attempts by analytical philosophers to demarcate more clearly the various forms of interpersonal respect.

The theoretical argument that we can recognize human beings as persons without having to esteem their achievements or their character forms a bridge between Ihering’s study and contemporary discussions. Stephen L. Darwall is also guided by the belief that we must distinguish two forms of respect by using the criterion of whether they presuppose evaluative gradations or precisely rule them out. He begins by tracing the respect for a human being as a person back to a type of ‘recognition respect’, because it primarily involves cognitively recognizing the fact that, with regard to the other, one is dealing with a being possessed of personal qualities. To this extent, this form of universalized respect always retains something of the sense of being ‘cognizant’ of someone [Zurkenntnisnahme] that is semantically present in the word ‘recognition’ [Anerkennung]. But only when the interpretation of the situation is supplemented by practical knowledge of the constraints one must place on one’s actions vis--vis human persons does one move from cognitive acknowledgement to what has been signified, since Kant, by the concept of moral respect: that to recognize every other human being as a person must then be to act, with regard to all of them, in the manner to which we are morally obligated by the features of a person. Although this does not take us all that far towards an answer to our question — since everything now turns on how the normatively obligating qualities of a person are to be defined — the structure of legal recognition has nonetheless become a bit less opaque. In legal recognition, two operations of consciousness flow together, so to speak, since, on the one hand, it presupposes moral knowledge of the legal obligations that we must keep vis--vis autonomous persons, while, on the other hand, it is only an empirical interpretation of the situation that can inform us whether, in the case of a given concrete other, we are dealing with an entity possessed of the quality that makes these obligations applicable. For this reason, the task of situation-specific application is an inviolable component of the structure of legal recognition, precisely because it is (under modem conditions) universalistically constituted. It must always be asked of a universally valid right — in light of empirical descriptions of the situation — what the circle of human subjects is, within which, because they belong to the class of morally responsible persons, the rights are supposed to be applicable. As we shall see, this zone of application and situation-interpretation represents one of the contexts of modem legal relations where a struggle for recognition can arise.

What makes esteeming someone different from recognizing him or her as a person is primarily the fact that it involves not the empirical application of general, intuitively known norms but rather the graduated appraisal of concrete traits and abilities. It thus always presupposes — as Darwall, agreeing with Ihering, claims — an evaluative frame of reference that indicates the value of personality traits on a scale of more or less, better or worse. Unlike Ihering, of course, Darwall is only interested in the narrow class of appraisals directed at the moral qualities of subjects. When we consider the form of recognition found in communities of value, we will have to address the question regarding the role of this particular form of moral respect in the whole context of social esteem. At the moment, all that matters are the conclusions that can be provisionally drawn from this comparison between legal recognition and social esteem. In both cases, human beings are respected because of certain traits. In the first case, however, this is a matter of the general feature that makes them persons at all, whereas in the second case, it is a matter of the particular characteristics that distinguish them from other persons. For this reason, the central question for legal recognition is how to define this constitutive quality of persons, while the question for social esteem is the constitution of the evaluative frame of reference within which the ‘worth’ of characteristic traits can be measured.

Thus formulated, this preliminary conclusion introduces a second problem, which had cropped up in connection with the structural qualities of legal recognition: there has to be a way of determining the capacity, with regard to which subjects mutually respect each other in recognizing each other as legal persons. An answer to the question thus posed is of all the greater importance because it provides the key to analysing the function of the granting of rights under post-traditional conditions. After becoming detached from ascriptions of status, its task must, by all appearances, be directed above all towards protecting and enabling not only the possession but also the exercise of this universal capacity, which characterizes a human being as a person in the first place. But the issue of which universal feature of legally capable subjects is supposed to be protected is decided by the new form of legitimation to which modern law is structurally bound. If a legal order can be considered to be valid and, moreover, can count on the willingness of individuals to follow laws only to the extent to which it can appeal, in principle, to the free approval of all the individuals it includes, then one must be able to suppose that these legal subjects have at least the capacity to make reasonable, autonomous decisions regarding moral questions. In the absence of such an ascription, it would be utterly inconceivable how subjects could ever have come to agree on a legal order. In this sense, because its legitimacy is dependent on a rational agreement between individuals with equal rights, every community based on modem law is founded on the assumption of the moral accountability of all its members.

But an ascription of this sort still does not indicate a feature that has sharp enough contours to be fixed once and for all. What is meant in saying that a subject is capable of acting autonomously on the basis of rational insight is something that is determined only relative to an account of what it means to speak of rational agreement. For depending on how the fundamental legitimating procedure is imagined, there will also be a change in the features that must be ascribed to a person, if he or she is to be able to participate as an equal in the process. The determination of the capacities that constitutively characterize a human being as a person is therefore dependent on background assumptions about the subjective prerequisites that enable participation in rational will-formation. The more demanding this procedure is seen to be, the more extensive the features will have to be that, taken together, constitute a subject’s status as morally responsible. As the connection thus postulated already makes clear, these capacities — with regard to which members of a society mutually recognize each other, whenever they respect each other as legal persons — are open to change. But it is only with a glance at the actual development of the granting of individual rights under post-conventional conditions that the direction of these changes becomes transparent. The cumulative expansion of individual rights-claims, which is what we are dealing with in modern societies, can be understood as a process in which the scope of the general features of a morally responsible person has gradually increased, because, under pressure from struggles for recognition, ever-new prerequisites for participation in rational will-formation have to be taken into consideration. We came across a similar thesis earlier, in Hegel’s speculative idea that the criminal forces the bourgeois legal order to extend its legal norms along the dimension of substantively equal opportunity.

Within legal studies, it has meanwhile become a matter of course to divide individual rights into civil-rights guaranteeing liberty, political rights guaranteeing participation and social rights guaranteeing basic welfare. The first category refers to negative rights that protect a person’s life, liberty, and property from unauthorized state interference; the second category refers to the positive rights guaranteeing a person the opportunity to participate in processes of public will-formation; and the third category, finally, refers to the similarly positive rights that ensure a person’s fair share in the distribution of basic goods. The approach to such a tripartite distinction can already be found in the work of Georg Jellinek, whose influential theory of status distinguished (alongside duties of obedience) the negative status, positive status, and active status of a legal person. Today, this approach is being pursued by Robert Alexy with the aim of systematically justifying basic individual rights. For the context of our argumentation, how ever, it is of primary importance that the same distinction also underlies the now-famous attempt of T. H. Marshall to reconstruct the historical levelling of social class differences as a process moving in the direction of an expansion of basic individual rights. Talcott Parsons took up this analysis in the context of his mature social theory, using it as the point of reference for his account of the development of modem law.

Marshall starts out from the situation of upheaval depicted above, in terms of which the basic distinction between the traditional and the modem constitution of law is made. With the uncoupling of individual rights-claims from the ascription of social status, a general principle of equality emerges for the first time, which henceforth requires of every legal order that it allow no exceptions and privileges. Because this requirement makes reference to the role that the individual occupies as a citizen, the idea of equality simultaneously acquires here a sense of ‘full-fledged’ membership in a political community: independent of differences in the amount of economic power, every member of society is accorded all the rights that help to bring about the equal representation of his or her political interests. What interests Marshall here is the developmental pressure that basic individual rights had to come under, once they had been subjected to this demand for equality. The fact that, as the result of social struggles, one is forced to do justice to this demand has allowed the level of individual rights-claims to increase to a point at which, ultimately, even the pre-political, economic inequalities could no longer remain completely untouched.

Marshall’s justification for this thesis, which implies much about how modem law has been gradually expanded in terms of recognition, takes the form of a historical reconstruction. Within this framework, the classification in legal theory becomes applicable according to which the sum of all individual rights-claims can be divided systematically into three classes. Marshall gives this three-part division a historical formulation, which, in its roughest version, states that civil rights developed in the eighteenth century, political rights were established in the nineteenth century, and finally, social rights were created in the twentieth century. But for our purposes, what is significant about this suggestive periodization (which will be further refined in what follows) is the indication that, historically, the establishment of each new class of basic rights is consistently compelled by arguments that referred implicitly to the demand for full-fledged membership in the political community. Initially, political rights to participation thus arose merely as a secondary product of the civil rights that, to a large extent, had already been granted to at least the male portion of the growing population during the eighteenth century. In the beginning, only those who could demonstrate a certain measure of income or property had a positive claim to participation in the process of political will-formation. These previously status-bound rights to participation only became a distinct class of universal human rights once these rights were partially expanded and carved out and the legal-political climate had eventually changed to such a degree that there were no longer any convincing arguments with which to oppose the demands of excluded groups for equality. There came a moment during the first decades of the twentieth century in which the belief established itself, once and for all, that every member of a political community must be accorded equal rights to participation in the process of democratic will-formation.

As with rights to political participation, social welfare rights have also emerged in the course of an expansion — forced ‘from below’ — of the meaning attached to the idea of ‘full-fledged’ membership in a political community. Part of the prehistory of this category of human rights is to be found in battles fought in several countries during the nineteenth century for the introduction of universal mandatory education. The goal of this struggle was to provide not the child but the future adult with the measure of cultural education required for the equal exercise of citizens’ rights. Once this point had been reached, the insight was not far away that political rights would have to remain a merely formal concession to the mass of the population as long as the possibility for actively taking advantage of them was not guaranteed by a certain social standard of living and degree of economic security. During the twentieth century, what then emerged from such demands for equality, at least in those Western countries that have followed a welfare state course, was a new class of social welfare rights, which are supposed to assure every citizen the possibility of asserting all his or her other rights-claims.

From this brief sketch of Marshall’s analysis, it is not difficult to see the manner in which the successive expansion of basic individual rights remained linked to the normative principle that was there from the start as its guiding idea. For each enrichment of the legal claims of individuals can be understood as a further step in fleshing out the moral idea that all members of society must have been able to agree to the established legal order on the basis of rational insight, if they are to be expected to obey the law. The institutionalization of bourgeois liberties initiated, as it were, a permanent process of innovation that gave rise to at least two new classes of individual rights, because what was demonstrated again and again in subsequent history, under pressure from disadvantaged groups, was that not all of the appropriate preconditions were present for equal participation in a rational agreement: in order to be involved as morally responsible persons, individuals need not only legal protection from interference in their sphere of liberty, but also the legally assured opportunity for participation in the public process of will-formation, an opportunity that they can only actually take advantage of, however, if they also have a certain social standard of living. Thus, during the last few centuries, the enrichment of the legal status of the individual citizen was accompanied by the successive expansion of the core constellation of capacities that constitutively characterize a human being as a person. In particular, the characteristics that put a subject in a position to act autonomously on the basis of rational insight have since come to include a minimum of cultural education and economic security. In this sense, then, to recognize one another as legal persons means more today than it possibly could have at the start of the evolution of modern law. In being legally recognized, one is now respected with regard not only to the abstract capacity to orient oneself vis--vis moral norms, but also to the concrete human feature that one deserves the social standard of living necessary for this.

As Marshall’s historical sketch also shows, this expansion — through social struggle — of basic individual rights is only one side of a process that took the form, on the whole, of an interlocking of two developmental paths that need to be distinguished. As a result of the introduction of the principle of equality into modem law, the status of a legal person was not only gradually broadened with regard to its content, in that it cumulatively incorporated new claims, but was also gradually expanded in the social sense that it was extended to an ever increasing number of members of society. Marshall can therefore summarize the results of his historical overview in the following concise thesis: ‘the urge forward along the path thus plotted is an urge toward a fuller measure of equality, an enrichment of the stuff of which the status is made and an increase in the number of those on whom the status is bestowed’. In the first case, as we have seen, the substantive content of law is augmented, generating an increased sensitivity to differences in individuals’ opportunities for realizing socially guaranteed freedoms. In the second case, by contrast, legal relations are universalized, in the sense that a growing circle of previously excluded or disadvantaged groups are granted the same rights as all other members of society. Because both of these developmental possibilities are internal to the structure of modem legal relations, both Hegel and Mead are convinced of a continuation of the ‘struggle for recognition’ within the legal sphere. The practical confrontations that arise in reaction to being denied recognition or treated with disrespect thus represent conflicts over the expansion of both the substantive content and social scope of the status of a legal person.

In preparing to characterize the experience of disrespect on which these social conflicts are based, there needs to be, in conclusion, a brief explication of the type of positive relation-to-self that legal recognition makes possible. The natural suggestion here, following Mead, is to consider the central psychological phenomenon associated with the granting of rights to be an increase in the ability to relate to oneself as a morally responsible person. Just as, in the case of love, children acquire, via the continuous experience of ‘maternal’ care, the basic self-confidence to assert their needs in an unforced manner, adult subjects acquire, via the experience of legal recognition, the possibility of seeing their actions as the universally respected expression of their own autonomy. The idea that self-respect is for legal relations what basic self-confidence was for the love relationship is already suggested by the conceptual appropriateness of viewing rights as depersonalized symbols of social respect in just the way that love can be conceived as the affectional expression of care retained over distance. Whereas the latter generates, in every human being, the psychological foundation for trusting one’s own sense of one’s needs and urges, the former gives rise to the form of consciousness in which one is able to respect oneself because one deserves the respect of everyone else. It is, of course, only with the establishment of universal human rights that this form of self-respect can assume the character associated with talk of moral responsibility as the respect-worthy core of a person. What is required are conditions in which individual rights are no longer granted disparately to members of social status groups but are granted equally to all people as free beings; only then will the individual legal person be able to see in them an objectivated point of reference for the idea that he or she is recognized for having the capacity for autonomously forming judgements. It is to these legal relations that a thought experiment of Joel Feinberg’s is tailored, one that he developed in order to demonstrate the moral significance of the granting of rights. His discussion is well suited to revealing the conceptual, if not empirical, connection between legal recognition and the acquisition of self-respect.

Feinberg presents the fictional state of a society in which there is an unusually high level of social goodwill and mutual considerateness, even though the institution of socially established rights has remained utterly unknown. In order not to make things too easy for himself, he supplements this model of a social collectivity he calls ‘Nowheresville’ in two further steps, by adding both an awareness of moral obligations and a system of positive law. Finally, having constructed the community in this way, Feinberg has good reasons for assuming that it would guarantee the well-being of its citizens at a level that is at least as high as that provided today in societies with basic individual rights. Everything that, in existing societies, stands people in good stead (in terms of assistance and respect), via legal claims, is guaranteed there by altruistic inclinations and a feeling of one-sided obligation. The sense that in a ‘Nowheresville’ type of society something is nevertheless missing, something that we generally reckon with, due to our moral intuitions, is precisely the point that interests Feinberg. Through an analysis of what this fictional community is lacking in spite of its wealth, he wants to ascertain the significance of individual rights for the individual. What gives him the key to solving this self-posed problem is the meaning that the expression ‘rights’ gains as soon as it is used in the sense of the possession of universal human rights. Once we realize that possessing rights under such circumstances means nothing else than being able to raise claims whose social redemption is considered justified, then it also becomes clear what is crucially lacking in ‘Nowheresville’. For the individual member of society, to live without individual rights means to have no chance of developing self-respect:

Having rights enables us to ‘stand up like men’, to look others in the eye, and to feel in some fundamental way the equal of anyone. To think of oneself as the holder of rights is not to be unduly but properly proud, to have that minimal self-respect that is necessary to be worthy of the love and esteem of others. Indeed, respect for persons ... may simply be respect for their rights, so that there cannot be the one without the other. And what is called ‘human dignity’ may simply be the recognizable capacity to assert claims.

Although this line of thought is not free of unclarities or even contradictions, one can derive an argument from it that provides a better basis for the account that Mead already suggested. Since possessing rights means being able to raise socially accepted claims, they provide one with a legitimate way of making clear to oneself that one is respected by everyone else. What gives rights the power to enable the development of self-respect is the public character that rights possess in virtue of their empowering the bearer to engage in action that can be perceived by interaction partners. For, with the optional activity of taking legal recourse to a right, the individual now has available a symbolic means of expression whose social effectiveness can demonstrate to him, each time anew, that he or she is universally recognized as a morally responsible person. If we introduce the points developed above into this context, we can conclude that in the experience of legal recognition, one is able to view oneself as a person who shares with all other members of one’s community the qualities that make participation in discursive will-formation possible. And we can term the possibility of relating positively to oneself in this manner self-respect’.

For the moment, however, this conclusion is only a conceptual claim, for which empirical support is, as yet, completely lacking. The reason why it is so difficult, in the case of self-respect, to demonstrate the reality of the phenomenon is because, to a certain extent, it acquires a perceptible mass only in a negative form — specifically, only when subjects visibly suffer from a lack of it. The actual presence of self-respect can therefore be inferred only indirectly each time, by making empirical comparisons involving groups of people, from whose general behaviour one can draw conclusions about the forms in which the experience of disrespect is symbolically represented. One way out of this difficulty is provided by the occasional cases in which the groups involved have themselves publicly discussed the denial of basic rights from the perspective of how withheld recognition undermines the opportunity for individual self-respect. In these exceptional historical situations — such as the one represented by discussions in the civil rights movement of the fifties and sixties in the US — the psychological significance of legal recognition for the self-respect of excluded collectivities breaks to the linguistic surface: in the relevant publications one regularly finds talk of how the endurance of legal underprivileging necessarily leads to a crippling feeling of social shame, from which one can be liberated only through active protest and resistance.


Both Hegel and Mead contrasted love and legal relations with a further form of mutual recognition and, although they chose to give different accounts of it, they were largely in agreement on its specific function: in order to be able to acquire an undistorted relation-to-self. human subjects always need — over and above the experience of affectionate care and legal recognition — a form of social esteem that allows them to relate positively to their concrete traits and abilities. In Hegel’s Jena writings. the concept ‘ethical life’ was the term for this recognition relationship of mutual esteem. In Mead, by contrast, we found, instead of a purely formal conception of this form of recognition, the already institutionally concrete model of the cooperative division of labour. From the comparison between the two descriptive approaches, the conclusion could be drawn that this type of pattern of recognition could only be properly understood at all once one further supposed, as a prerequisite, the existence of an intersubjectively shared value-horizon. For self and other can mutually esteem each other as individualized persons only on the condition that they share an orientation to those values and goals that indicate to each other the significance or contribution of their qualities for the life of the other. An initial indication that our interpretation of Hegel and Mead did not lead to an empirically unsupportable conclusion ultimately arose from the analysis of modem legal relations. The fundamental, universalistic principle underlying these relations could only be reconstructed by conceiving of them as the outcome of an uncoupling of legal recognition from the forms of social regard in which subjects are recognized according to the socially defined worth of their concrete characteristics. In these historically shifting patterns of social esteem one can discern the early empirical forms of what Hegel and Mead each had in mind in introducing a third relation of mutual recognition. Its features can thus best be determined — in the sense of an empirically backed phenomenology — if we return to our line of analysis at the point where we left it, in the comparison between legal recognition and social esteem. In this connection, it turns out that with their concepts of ‘ethical life’ and a democratic division of labour, Hegel and Mead each sought to single out only one type — and, in normative terms, a particularly demanding type of value-community, into which every form of esteem-granting recognition necessarily must be admitted.

Unlike modem legal recognition, social esteem is directed, as we have seen, at the particular qualities that characterize people in their personal difference. Thus, whereas modern law represents a medium of recognition that expresses the universal features of human subjects, this form of recognition demands a social medium that must be able to express the characteristic differences among human subjects in a universal and, more specifically, intersubjectively obligatory way. This task of mediation is performed, at the societal level, by a symbolically articulated — yet always open and porous — framework of orientation, in which those ethical values and goals are formulated that, taken together, comprise the cultural self-understanding of a society. Such a framework of orientation can serve as a system of reference for the appraisal of particular personality features, because their social ‘worth’ is measured by the degree to which they appear to be in a position to contribute to the realization of societal goals. The cultural self-understanding of a society provides the criteria that orient the social esteem of persons, because their abilities and achievements are judged intersubjectively according to the degree to which they can help to realize culturally defined values. This form of mutual recognition is thus also tied to the presupposition of a context of social life, whose members, through their orientation towards shared conceptions of their goals, form a community of value. But if social esteem is determined by the dominant conceptions of ethical goals in a society, then the forms it can take are no less historically variable than those of legal recognition. Their societal scope and the measure of their symmetry then depend on both the degree of pluralization of the socially defined value-horizon and the character of the personality ideals singled out there. The more conceptions of ethical goals are open to different values and the more their hierarchical arrangement gives way to horizontal competition, the more clearly social esteem will be able to take on an individualizing character and generate symmetrical relationships. Thus, here too, it seems natural to analyse this specific form of recognition in terms of the historical, structural transformation that it went through in the transition from traditional to modem societies: as with legal relations, social esteem could only take on the shape familiar to us today after it had outgrown the framework of corporatively organized societies of the pre-modern period. The structural transformation that thereby got underway is marked, in terms of the history of concepts, by the transition from concepts of honour to categories of social /standing’ or ‘prestige’.

As long as a society’s conceptions of its ethical goals are still conceived of substantively and the corresponding value-ideas are hierarchically organized in such a way that a scale of more and less valuable forms of conduct can arise, a person’s status is measured in terms of social honour. The conventional ethical life of such communities allows them to stratify areas of responsibility within society vertically, according to their purported contribution to the realization of central values and mapped further onto specific ways of leading one’s life. And it is in adhering to these patterns that individuals can attain the ‘honour’ appropriate to their status. Thus, within corporatively organized societies, ‘honour’ designates the relative level of social standing that people can attain when they manage to conduct themselves habitually in line with the collective expectations that are ‘ethically’ linked to their social status: ‘In content,’ we read in Max Weber, ‘status [standisch] honor is normally expressed in the fact that above all else a specific style of life is expected from all those who want to belong to the circle’. The personality traits towards which the social evaluation of a person is oriented, under these presuppositions, are thus not those of a biographically individuated subject but rather those of a culturally typified status group. It is according to the ‘worth’ of this group — which emerges, in turn, from the socially determined degree of their collective contribution to the realization of societal goals — that the social worth of each of its members is to be measured as well. ‘Honourable’ conduct is thus only what each individual must further accomplish in order to actually attain the level of social standing collectively accorded to his or her estate, on the basis of the culturally pre-given value order.

When social esteem is organized according to the corporative pattern just sketched, the forms of recognition associated with it take on the character of internally symmetrical yet externally asymmetrical relationships between culturally typified members of an estate. Within the status group, subjects can esteem each other as persons who, because of their common social position, share traits and abilities that are accorded a certain level of social standing on the society’s scale of values. Between status groups, one finds relations of hierarchically graded esteem, which allow members of society to esteem subjects outside their estate for traits and abilities that, to a culturally predetermined degree, contribute to the realization of collectively shared values. Of course, even this relatively stable system of recognition relations does not rule out the possibility that social groups would take the alternative route of a ‘counterculture of compensatory respect’, in order to rectify, through demonstrative stylizations, what they feel to be an unjust appraisal of the worth of their collective characteristics. And one can view it as equally typical for corporative societies that, as Max Weber observed, social groups tend to try to deny non-members access to the distinguishing features of their group, in order to monopolize long-term chances for high social prestige. But all of these dimensions of an everyday struggle for honour remain bound to the framework of a corporative system of recognition relations, as long as it does not directly put into question the substantive value-hierarchy that marks the cultural self-understanding of traditional societies in general.

This gradual devaluation of traditional ethical life began at the moment at which the post-conventional ideas of philosophy and political theory had gained so much cultural influence that they could not leave the status of socially integrative value-convictions untouched. In the transition to modernity, it is not simply the case that relations of legal recognition became detached, as we have seen, from the hierarchical order of social esteem. In addition, this order itself was submitted to a tough, conflict-ridden process of structural transformation, because in the wake of cultural innovations, the conditions for the validity of a society’s ethical goals changed as well. Even though the societal value-system had been able to serve as an evaluative system of reference with which to determine — objectively, as it were — the patterns of honourable conduct specific to an estate, this was primarily due to the particular cognitive givenness of the value-system. In fact, it still owed its social currency to the undiminished convincing force of a religious or metaphysical heritage and was thus anchored in cultural self-understanding as a meta-social point of reference. But as soon as this epistemic threshold was crossed on a broad scale — that is, as soon as ethical obligations were recognized to be the result of inner-worldly decisions — the everyday understanding of the character of society’s value-system had to change, as the preconditions for the validity of law had done before. Stripped of the transcendental basis for its selfevidence, this value-system could no longer be viewed as an objective system of reference in which class-specific expectations as to one’s conduct could provide unambiguous information about the relative measure of social honour. Along with the metaphysical foundation for validity, the value-cosmos lost both its objective character and its ability to fix, once and for all, a scale of social prestige in a way that could govern conduct. For this reason, the struggle against the nobility’s notions of honour that the bourgeoisie took up at the threshold of modernity represents not only the collective attempt to establish new value-principles but also the initiation of a confrontation over the status, in general, of such value-principles. For the first time, it came to be open to dispute whether a person’s social standing is to be measured in terms of the predetermined worth of traits that are attributed, as types, to entire groups. It is only from this point on that the subject entered the contested field of social esteem as an entity individuated in terms of a particular life-history.

In the course of the upheaval described above, a significant part of the social esteem guaranteed to individuals via corporatively stratified principles of honour made its way into the newly formed legal relations, where it attained universal currency in the concept of ‘human dignity’. In modem catalogues of human rights, all human beings are guaranteed equal legal protection for their standing in society, even though it remains unclear even today what practical legal consequences this should actually have. But legal relations cannot integrate all dimensions of social esteem as is already clear simply from the fact that, in accordance with its overall function, social esteem can only apply to those traits and abilities with regard to which members of society differ from one another. Persons can feel themselves to be ‘valuable’ only when they know themselves to be recognized for accomplishments that they precisely do not share in an undifferentiated manner with others. Although such differences among characteristics had previously been defined collectivistically, in order to tie one’s level of social honour to one’s membership in status group, this possibility disappears here with the gradual dissolution of the traditional hierarchy of values. The bourgeoisie’s struggle against the compulsion to conduct oneself in a manner suitable to one’s ‘estate’, to which they had been yoked by the old system of recognition relations, led to an individualization of the notion of who contributed to the realization of societal goals. Because it is no longer to be determined in advance which ways of leading one’s life are considered ethically admissible, social esteem begins to be oriented not towards collective traits but towards the capacities developed by the individual in the course of his or her life. The individualization of achievement is inevitably accompanied by the opening of societal value — ideas for differing forms of personal self-realization. From this point on, it is a form of value pluralism — albeit one defined in class-specific and gender-specific terms — that constitutes the cultural framework of orientation within which individuals’ level of accomplishment and thus their social worth are defined. It is in this context that the concept of social honour gradually becomes watered down into a concept of social prestige.

One side of this historical process of conceptual transformation involves the decline of the category of ‘honour’ — up to this point linked to ways of leading one’s life specific to a status group or ‘estate’ — into a different context of application, that of the private sphere. From here on, ‘honour’ designates only the subjectively definable standard for those aspects of one’s self-understanding that unconditionally deserve to be defended. The place that the concept of honour had previously held in the public arena gradually comes to be occupied by the categories of ‘standing’ or ‘prestige’, which are supposed to capture the measure of esteem that individuals are socially accorded for their individual accomplishments and abilities. Now the new organizational pattern that this form of recognition thus acquires can, of course, only refer to the narrow stratum of a person’s worth which is left over from the two processes of, on the one hand, the universalization of ‘honour’ into ‘dignity’ and, on the other hand, the privatization of ‘honour’ into subjectively defined ‘integrity’. Thus, social esteem is henceforth no longer linked to legal privileges of any sort, and does not constitutively include the designation of moral qualities of one’s personality. Rather, ‘prestige’ or ‘standing’ signifies only the degree of social recognition the individual earns for his or her form of self-realization by thus contributing, to a certain extent, to the practical realization of society’s abstractly defined goals. With regard to this new, individualized system of recognition relations, everything now depends, therefore, on the definition of this general value-horizon, which is supposed to be open to various forms of self-realization and yet, at the same time, must also be able to serve as an overarching system of esteem.

With these conflicting tasks a tension is introduced into the modern organization of social esteem, a tension that renders it permanently subject to cultural conflict. For, however the societal goals are defined — whether in terms of a seemingly neutral idea of ‘achievement’ or in terms of an open horizon of plural values — there is always a need for a secondary interpretive practice, before they can operate within the social life-world as criteria of esteem. The abstract guiding ideas of modern societies provide so little in the way of a universally valid system of reference with which to measure the social worth of particular traits and abilities that they must always be made concrete through supplemental cultural interpretations before they can be applied in the sphere of recognition. For this reason, the worth accorded to various forms of self-realization and even the manner in which the relevant traits and abilities are defined fundamentally depend on the dominant interpretations of societal goals in each historical case. But since the content of such interpretations depends in turn on which social groups succeed in publicly interpreting their own accomplishments and forms of life in a way that shows them to be especially valuable, this secondary interpretive practice cannot be understood to be anything other than an ongoing cultural conflict. In modern societies, relations of social esteem are subject to a permanent struggle, in which different groups attempt, by means of symbolic force and with reference to general goals, to raise the value of the abilities associated with their way of life. To be sure, it is not only the power of specific groups to control these means of symbolic force but also the climate of public attention (never easily influenced) that partly decides, in each case, the temporarily stable outcome of such struggles. The more successful social movements are at drawing the public sphere’s attention to the neglected significance of the traits and abilities they collectively represent, the better their chances of raising the social worth or indeed, the standing of their members. Since, beyond this, relations of social esteem are, as Georg Simmel already saw, indirectly coupled with patterns of income distribution, economic confrontations are also constitutive for this form of struggle for recognition.

With this development, social esteem develops a pattern that lends the associated form of recognition the character of an asymmetrical relationship between biographically individuated subjects. Of course, the cultural interpretations that must, in each case, render abstract societal goals concrete within the lifeworld are still determined by social groups’ interests in the revaluation of their abilities and traits, but within value-systems (which have emerged via conflict) the social standing of subjects is indeed measured in terms of what they can accomplish for society within the context of their particular forms of self-realization. It is this type of organizational pattern of social esteem that Hegel and Mead are each aiming at in their proposals, found respectively in the concept of ‘ethical life’ and the idea of a democratic division of labour. For in their proposed solutions, both envisioned a social value-system in which societal goals had gone through such a complex and detailed explication that every individual would basically have the chance to attain some degree of social standing. I have already attempted to describe the theoretical dead-ends in which both Hegel and Mead admittedly ended up in working out their shared core idea. It remains to be asked why the category of ‘solidarity’ recommends itself as the overarching concept for these suggested solutions. A clarification of this question is only possible, however, after the type of individual relation-to-self accompanying the experience of social esteem has been revealed.

As long as the form of recognition found in esteem is organized in terms of status groups, the corresponding experience of social distinction can generally refer only to the collective identity of one’s own group. The accomplishments in terms of whose societal worth individuals are recognized are then still so little abstracted from the typified collective traits of the status group that only the group as a whole can feel itself to be the addressee of esteem. The practical relation-to-self that such an experience of recognition allows individuals to attain is thus a feeling of group-pride or collective honour. Here, the individual knows himself or herself to be a member of a social group that can collectively accomplish things whose worth for society is recognized by all other members of society. In the internal relations of such groups, forms of interaction normally take on the character of relationships of solidarity, since each member knows himself or herself to be esteemed by all others to the same degree. This is because, to a first approximation, ‘solidarity’ can be understood as an interactive relationship in which subjects mutually sympathize with their various different ways of life because, among themselves, they esteem each other symmetrically. This suggestion also explains the fact that up to now the concept of ‘solidarity’ has been applied primarily to group relations that arise in the experience of collective resistance to political oppression. Here, it is the all-dominating agreement on a practical goal that instantly generates an intersubjective value-horizon, in which each participant learns to recognize the significance of the abilities and traits of the others to the same degree. The mechanism of symmetrical esteem can also be used to explain the fact that war often represents a collective event that is able to create spontaneous relationships of solidarity and sympathy across social boundaries. Here again, in the shared experience of great strain and sacrifice a new constellation of values suddenly emerges, which allows subjects to esteem one another for accomplishments and abilities that had previously been without societal significance.

Up to now, however, we have only clarified the type of practical relation-to-self that allows individuals to gain social esteem as long as it is still organized along corporative lines. But with the individualization (depicted above) of this form of recognition, the practical relationship with themselves that this enables subjects to enter into changes as well. Now the individual no longer has to attribute to an entire collective the respect that he or she receives for accomplishments that fit social standards but can refer them positively back to himself or herself instead. Under these altered conditions, the experience of being socially esteemed is accompanied by a felt confidence that one’s achievements or abilities will be recognized as ‘valuable’ by other members of society. We can meaningfully term this type of practical relation-to-self (for which, in everyday speech, the expression ‘feeling of self-worth’ predominates) ‘self-esteem’, as the parallel category to the concepts of ‘basic self-confidence’ and ‘self-respect’. To the extent to which every, _member of a society is in a position to esteem himself or herself, one can speak of a state of societal solidarity (see figure 2).

In modern societies, therefore, social relations of symmetrical esteem between individualized (and autonomous) subjects represent a pre-requisite for solidarity. In this sense, to esteem one another symmetrically means to view one another in light of values that allow the abilities and traits of the other to appear significant for shared praxis. Relationships of this sort can be said to be cases of ‘solidarity’, because they inspire not just passive tolerance but felt concern for what is individual and particular about the other person. For only to the degree to which I actively care about the development of the other’s characteristics (which seem foreign to me) can our shared goals be realized. The fact that ‘symmetrical’ cannot mean here that we esteem each other to the same degree is already clear from the essential openness to interpretation of every societal value-horizon. It is simply impossible to imagine a set of collective goals that could be fixed quantitatively in such a way that it would allow for an exact comparison of the value of individual contributions; ‘symmetrical’ must mean instead that every subject is free from being collectively denigrated, so that one is given the chance to experience oneself to be recognized, in light of one’s own accomplishments and abilities, as valuable for society. For this reason too, the social relations that we have conceived of here in terms of the concept of ‘solidarity’ open up, for the first time, the horizon within which individual competition for social esteem can then acquire a form free from pain, that is, a form not marred by experiences of disrespect.

Figure 2 The structure of relations of recognition
Mode of recognitionemotional supportcognitive respectsocial esteem
Dimension of personalityneeds and emotionsmoral responsibilitytraits and abilities
Forms of recognitionprimary relationships
(love, friendship)
legal relations
community of value
Developmental potentialgeneralization,
Practical relation-to-selfbasic
Forms of disrespectabuse and rapedenial of rights,
Threatened component
of personality
physical integritysocial integrity‘honour’, dignity