Institutionally Mediated Recognition : A Vicious Circle?
Hirvonen, O. (2023). Institutionally Mediated Recognition : A Vicious Circle?. In O. Hirvonen, & H. J. Koskinen (Eds.), The Theory and Practice of Recognition (pp. 228-247). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003259978-15
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It is largely agreed that institutions only exist if they are accepted or recognized by those who participate in them. However, according to the Hegelian theories of recognition, any practical form of recognition is always mediated by institutions. Thus, it seems that the collective acceptance of institutions is always already mediated by institutions. This chapter aims to solve the apparent contradiction by, firstly, specifying how recognition is precisely mediated through social roles and institutions. It is clear that institutions come in different shapes, sizes, and forms. They are all normative systems, but it is equally clear that all-pervasive institutions like language and money are not the same kind of entities like more rigidly structured state institutions or corporations. Though all institutions might require collective acknowledgement and recognition to exist, it is not as clear that all institutions are about our practical forms of recognition or that all forms of practical recognition are completely restricted to stay within certain institutional borders. Secondly, as the institutions are also dependent on our collective recognition of them, the forms that recognitive attitudes take towards institutions need to be specified. In the literature, vertical recognition of institutions has been distinguished from horizontal recognition between individual agents, but it is unclear how exactly these attitudes differ from each other. This chapter shows how the Hegelian theories of recognition face a potentially severe problem of circularity between institutions and recognitive attitudes. It is argued that we need to distinguish different senses of recognition and different kinds of relevant institutions to sidestep the problem. This also clarifies the role of recognition in formation of institutions and the extent of institutional determination of recognition practices. ...
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