Recognising recognition: Self‐other dynamics in everyday encounters and experiences

Amer, Amena and Obradovic, Sandra (2022). Recognising recognition: Self‐other dynamics in everyday encounters and experiences. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, 52(4) pp. 550–562.



At the core of what makes humans, and their behaviour, social, is the interplay between self and other. Our identities, for example, are essential to our functioning as social beings as they allow us to make sense of ourselves, and others, across different contexts. We care about how others see us and achieving congruence between how we see ourselves, how we think relevant others see us, and indeed how relevant others actually see us in turn, becomes integral for achieving a positive sense of self. Therefore, humans require recognition from relevant others. This recognition can take many different forms, from legal recognition of one's rights in society, to social recognition of one's belonging to different groups. Moreover, the absence of recognition can lead to serious repercussions and consequences, resulting, on an individual level, in a reduced mode of being and feelings of exclusion, and on a social and political level, in tensions and conflict. The current special issue takes a multidisciplinary approach to contribute to the growing debates and discussions around the importance of understanding recognition and its role in social behaviour. As the introduction to this special issue, this paper argues that the concept of recognition enables a better understanding of how identification and belonging become entangled with power struggles and expressions of agency. Doing so leads us to conclude that a social psychology of identity and intra/intergroup relations which does not consider power relations, as bound up in processes of recognition and its denial, fails to consider the key processes and broader impact that exclusion, subtle or explicit, has on individuals' well‐being, belonging and ability to act in the world.

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