ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Recognising Ambedkar

An Identity or An Idea?

Identity upholds a symbol of privilege and purity on the one hand and, on the other, is also a label that represents the stigma of pollution and indignity. Both these forms of identity construct the idea of identity politics. Identity establishes an idea and idea constructs an identity, both become indistinguishable in a political discourse that works at different levels in society. This is the dichotomy of the theory of recognition that is explored in this article.


The theory of recognition goes back to philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and Johann Gottlieb Fichte of the German idealist tradition. In the 20th century, philosophers George Herbert Mead, Axel Honneth, and Charles Taylor have had significant contributions towards the philosophy of recognition. They have centred an ethics of recognition on the idea of the self in relation to others.1 The purpose of the philosophy of recognition is to propose a normative theory of ethics based on how the self wants to be recognised by the other. This article explores how identity is recognised in a caste-ridden society like India. It first delves into how identities are perceived, followed by an analysis of how B R Ambedkar is recognised in the Indian political discourse.

Puzzle and Position in Recognition Theory

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Updated On : 5th Dec, 2021
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