Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Publication Title

Migration, Recognition and Critical Theory



Publisher Name


Publisher Location

Cham, Switzerland


Thanks to Axel Honneth, recognition theory has become a prominent fixture of critical social theory. In recent years, he has deployed his recognition theory in diagnosing pathologies and injustices that afflict institutional practices. Some of these institutional practices revolve around specifically juridical institutions, such as human rights and democratic citizenship, that directly impact the lives of the most desperate migrants. Hence it is worthwhile asking what recognition theory can add to a critical theory of migration. In this paper, I argue that, although its contribution to a critical theory of migration is limited, it nonetheless carves out a unique body of ethical insights related to diagnosing the interpretative and epistemic pathologies and injustices associated with the legal processing of migrants’ claims for asylum. Going beyond discourse ethics, which mainly highlights procedural violations of legislative and judicial deliberation, it trains our gaze on the institutional biases that lead migrants to be misrecognized or under-recognized as credible witnesses to their own refugee status.




Author Posting.© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG, 2021. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of Springer, Cham for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Studies in Global Justice, Volume 21, 08 July 2021.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.