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date: 22 May 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the efforts of liberal theorists to address contemporary struggles for recognition identified with the ‘politics of difference’. The number and complexity of egalitarian demands for group recognition—e.g. bids for self-government rights, reparations for past injustices—challenge liberal theory’s primary concern with individual rights. Groups may seek rights that are in tension with individual rights or with the rights of other groups. Hegel’s conception of liberal freedom as the ability of self-actualizing citizens to find themselves at home in the world, an intersubjective achievement fueled by struggles for recognition, suggests an answer to this challenge.

Keywords: Hegel, liberalism, social justice, multiculturalism, Charles Taylor, Axel Honneth

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