Social Domain and Politics in Contemporary Critical Thinking: Honneth, Rancière, and their Relation to E.P. Thompson


The article examines the concept of emancipation provided by contemporary critical thinking. To this end, it starts by analyzing the recently published book on a “critical encounter” between Axel Honneth and Jacques Rancière that took place in 2009. In reference to politico-philosophical debates of the 1990s, it points out that they have a common starting point in negative and emancipatory experiences. Nonetheless, one gives priority to the domain of the social and the other to political expression. By analyzing the relation of each author to E.P. Thompson, the article stresses that contemporary critical theory needs to overcome such one-sided perspectives.

Keywords: Axel Honneth, Jacques Rancière, Edward P. Thompson, Recognition, Critical Theory, Emancipation

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