Recognition, Difference
and Social Inclusion
Dr Zoë Morrison, Senior Manager, Research and Policy Centre,
Brotherhood of St Laurence & Honorary Research Fellow, School of
Political and Social Science, Melbourne University
 Introduction
 Social justice, recognition and redistribution
 Different aspects of recognition
 Social inclusion and difference
 Social inclusion policy examples from a
recognition perspective
Social justice, recognition and
 Social inclusion and social justice – a multi-dimensional
 ‘It’s about income, but about more …’ (Blair, 1997)
 ‘National economic and social policies will no longer be working
at cross purposes’ (Gillard, 2008)
 Fraser articulated a vision of how economic and cultural
factors create injustice together, and how social justice
requires both redistribution and recognition
 ‘Justice today requires both redistribution and recognition’ (Fraser,
2003, p.9)
 Eg economic and cultural aspects of sexism , racism and
Social justice, recognition and
 Debate has raged in political-philosophy about the
relationship between recognition and redistribution (eg
Fraser 1995,Young 1997, Phillips 1997, Butler 1998, Fraser
& Honneth 2003)
 Fraser argues that certain forms of a politics of recognition
can act counter certain politics of redistribution
 Others argue that rather than being a distraction from or in
competition with a politics of redistribution, a politics of
recognition is instead complimentary and even a necessary
part of its success
Different aspects of recognition
 ‘Inter-subjective’ recognition (Honneth 2001, Taylor
 When a person is insulted or degraded, they are denied
recognition, and positives understandings of themselves are
 Misrecognition and non-recognition are forms of oppression
because they imprison someone in a false, distorted and
reduced mode of being.
 People who are members of stigmatized groups in society, and
who experience this stigmatization repeatedly, internalize
negative self-images. Beyond being simply insulting this can
inflict a ‘grievous wound’, saddling people with crippling selfhatred.
 Due recognition is not just a courtesy, but a vital human need
Different aspects of recognition
 Recognition as ‘participatory parity’, and misrecognition as
‘status injury’ (Fraser, 2000)
 ‘To be misrecognised is not only to be thought ill of, looked down upon
or devalued in people’s attitudes, beliefs or representation. It is being
denied the status of full partner in social interaction, as a consequence
of institutionalized patterns of cultural value that constitute one as
comparatively unworthy of respect or esteem’ (2000, p.56)
 ‘To be misrecognised is not to suffer distorted identity or impaired
subjectivity as a result of being depreciated by others. It is rather to be
constituted by institutionalized patterns of cultural value in ways that
prevent one from participating as a peer in social life’ (2003, p.29)
 Eg participation of women in the labour market (Fraser & Liakova, 2008)
Different aspects of recognition
 Fraser argues against the ‘self-realization’ model in
preference to the ‘status model’
 Others argue Fraser too readily dismisses intersubjective recognition, its salience to redistribution and
social justice overall.
 Eg advocacy for poorly paid child-care workers (MacDonald &
Merrill, 2002) – the role of redistribution, institutional
recognition and inter-subjective recognition
 So how do these social justice concepts or redistribution and
recognition relate to social inclusion policy and thinking?
Social justice and social inclusion
 Discussion to date has mostly focused on redistribution
 Little explicit attention been paid to the politics of
recognition and social inclusion - perhaps surprising, given a
defining feature of social inclusion has been its emphasis on
participation (Room, 2005).
 Institutional recognition issues are directly relevant to the
involvement of socially excluded people in their community
and local areas (see Barnes, Newman & Sullivan, 2007)
 Also, some work on the extent to which social inclusion
discourse and policy reflect the concerns of particular social
groups –although this has not yet been expressed in
recognition terms
Analyzing social inclusion policy
 Participation and neighbourhood renewal
 Lister (2008) looked at ways to build the capacities of people
who experience poverty to be able to participate directly in
decision making that affects their lives.
 Seems to be a matter of ‘institutional recognition’, but Lister
also implicitly acknowledges the relevance of ‘intersubjective’ recognition.
 Further analysis suggests a greater role of inter-subjective
recognition in the effectiveness of these participatory
Analyzing social inclusion policy
 Neighbourhood renewal and participation
 Social exclusion and neighbourhood renewal policy –
Single Regeneration Budget, UK
 Policy mechanisms mitigated against greater and more
diverse local involvement
 Within the broader context of ‘Bringing Britain Together:
A National Strategy for Neighbourhood Renewal’
 Discourses of shame and disgust form a continuum of
Analyzing social inclusion policy
 ‘Jobless families’ and workforce participation
 ‘Jobless families’ have had particular emphasis in the
Australian SI agenda, and the well-being of children is an
important part of it, particularly in relation to improving
child poverty.
 Agenda risks not adequately recognising the full range of
factors that contribute to children’s equality, well-being
and social inclusion- recognition issues need to be
integrated with a more conventional economic analysis
Analyzing social inclusion policy
 Homelessness and domestic violence
 Homelessness a paradigmatic SI issue - DV now
recognised as the largest single cause of homelessness in
Australia (FaCSIA, 2008)
 Different experience of DV create different needs when
it comes to homelessness policy solutions - women who
have exp violence throughout their lives are able to reestablish their lives require diverse, long-term supports
 Inter-subjective recognition issues associated with the
experience of violence play a ‘gate-keeping’ role to the
success of long-term housing solutions
Social inclusion and difference
 Perhaps social inclusion’s limited ability to accommodate
difference is not surprising
 Social inclusion is not just a suite of policies or a new
way of doing governance - it is also a vision, set of values
and way of seeing the world that is necessarily normative
 For a stronger philosophical under-pinning to social inclusion
thinking, and better social inclusion policy, we need a greater
recognition of recognition issues.
 If we are to better encompass diversity and difference within
the conceptualization of social inclusion, and its policies,
social inclusion as a normative concept will need to be
challenged, stretched, and re-invented.
 At its best, the concept of social inclusion will grow to take
more diverse perspectives into account, and better reflect the
multi-dimensional nature it aspires to.

here - Social Justice Initiative