Why we should care about respect

Middleton, David (2004). Why we should care about respect. Contemporary Politics, 10(3-4) pp. 227–241.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/1356977042000316691


Respect is a concept that is often used in political and social discourse, but is rarely adequately conceptualised. In this article it is argued that there are three very good reasons for caring about respect. First, self-respect is an integral part of our image of our self. Second, 'social respect' mediates our social interactions. Judgments of our merits and status are part of the everyday interactions that we engage in. Respect matters because it represents a way in which we are taken seriously by others. And, third, respect matters because it links to social justice. In this sense, there is a radical dimension to the concept of respect that has often been overlooked by radical theorists who have been over-enthusiastic in endorsing a view of morality as based in bourgeois liberalism. The article argues for a radical politics of respect that embraces liberal ideals and pushes them to their radical conclusions.

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