chapter  6
21 Pages

Longing for Recognition

Jessica Benjamin’s recent work seeks to establish the possibilityfor intersubjective recognition, thereby setting a philosophical norm for a therapeutic discourse. Her work has always been distinctively defined by its groundedness in critical social theory and clinical practice. Whereas the Frankfurt School maintained a strong theoretical interest in psychoanalysis and spawned the important work of Alexander and Margarete Mitscherlich, The Inability to Mourn, among other texts, it has been rare since that time to find a critical theorist trained in that venue who actively practices psychoanalysis, and whose theoretical contributions combine critical reflection and clinical insight in the way that Benjamin’s does. Central to her philosophical inheritance is the notion of recognition itself, a key concept that was developed in Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit (111-19) and which has assumed new meanings in the work of Jürgen Habermas and Axel Honneth.1