Recognition: Its Theory and Practice

A Conference Organized by the Academy of Finland Centre of Excellence Reason and Religious Recognition and HCAS.

Conference organizers: Heikki J. Koskinen (University of Helsinki) & Ritva Palmén (HCAS)

Based on the foundational work of Axel Honneth and Charles Taylor since the early 1990s, contemporary recognition theory has developed into an established multidisciplinary research programme. Among the topics that contemporary recognition theory studies are various preconditions and dimensions of individual, social, and political good life, as well as globally pressing issues of identity, multiculturalism, and religion. By now, central systematic components of recognition theory have been relatively well-articulated, and many of the inherent problems within the framework have also been at least initially identified and critically discussed.

As the general structure of the theory and the related conceptual distinctions receive ever more sophisticated treatments in the growing research literature, it is also important to ask principled questions about the exact relationship between the theoretical and practical dimensions of recognition. To retain its concrete and pragmatic motivation as well as its overall plausibility as a critical social theory with emancipatory intent, contemporary recognition theory needs to be able to successfully combine the top-down contribution of concepts and theory with the bottom-up perspective of concrete interests of real-life situations, in both contemporary and historical contexts.

The topics of the conference Recognition: Its Theory and Practice include the following: (i) the relationship between theory and various practices of recognition; (ii) ways in which contemporary and historical recognition phenomena do, can, or should, influence the formation of relevant concepts and theory; (iii) conceptual developments within contemporary recognition theory; (iv) the pragmatic significance of recognition-concepts; (v) contemporary and historical religious phenomena analysed with the conceptual resources of recognition theory; (vi) The methodological issues involved in interpreting historical texts with the concepts of contemporary recognition theory.

For more information concerning the event and the volume, contact Heikki J. Koskinen e-mail: