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The Government of DesireA Genealogy of the Liberal Subject$
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Miguel de Beistegui

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780226547374

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226547404.001.0001

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The Consolations of Recognition

The Consolations of Recognition

Chapter:
(p.187) 8 The Consolations of Recognition
Source:
The Government of Desire
Author(s):

Miguel de Beistegui

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226547404.003.0009

This chapter extends the critical conclusion introduced in the previous chapter. Its main claim is that recognition is essentially misrecognition. Recognition is supposed to be about people’s right to be acknowledged as what they already really are. But what people "really are," the categories through which they identify themselves – categories of gender, ethnicity, nationality, race, sexuality – are generated not by the oppressed or the subordinated, but by the systems of power that generate the subordination. As a result, the struggle for recognition remains internal to the very rationality it seeks to challenge, and to the sphere of power it disputes. In other words, the desire and struggle for recognition is not critical enough. That is the reason why it’s only recognitive, rather than creative. In the end, a truly critical approach - one that can be found in Foucault, Butler, Deleuze-Guattari and various post-colonial thinkers - would dispute the very categories that are put forward as defining who or what one really is, denounce the assemblages of knowing and power they help secure, and seek to create the concepts ("becoming," "deterritorialization") and techniques through which one can become a different kind of self, and learn to desire differently.

Keywords:   critique, gender, sexuality, postcolonialism, gay rights, friendship, recognition as subjectivation, Butler, Foucault, Fanon

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