Recognising Recognition:
: Can the underlying assumptions of redistributive justice be addressed through a dialogue with theories of recognition?

  • Tabea Titia Groeneveld

Student thesis: Master's ThesisMaster of Economic and Social Studies


This paper argues for the essentiality of recognition to redistributive theories of justice in order to sufficiently alleviate global poverty, a matter that within theories of international justice predominantly surrounds the question of responsibility. Through an investigation on the moral requirements and capabilities behind our global relationships, this paper assigns special responsibility to alleviate poverty to the affluent, defined as all those with relatively high standards of living who enjoy luxuries. Drawing on Pogge for evidence for a causal relationship between the poor and the affluent due to a shared world economic system elaborates the basis of claims for redistribution. However, the contemporary engagement in redistributive justice will be demonstrated to solely address the symptoms of poverty. The reason for this is claimed to lie in the world economic system’s impact on the value structure of the affluent in a way that makes them regard everything as depending on economic power. Thus the form redistribution takes is a purely economic redistribution. Due to this influence, the poor are merely cognitively recognised in their physical existence as suffering from lack of economic power but not as moral agents. By drawing on Honneth and Fraser, a moral form of recognition, namely equal status recognition, is introduced that proves to be an essential component of justice and moreover has the ability to alter the form of redistribution to what is labeled redistribution based on solidarity. As illustrated in a practical example on the Fairtrade model, this theoretical exchange of the underlying form of recognition that impacts that on the form of redistribution empowers the poor as granting them independent agency and ultimately enables redistribution based on solidarity to be more sufficient in addressing global poverty
Date of Award2013
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Aberystwyth University
SupervisorSimona Elena Rentea (Supervisor)

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