Journal of
Law and Conflict Resolution

  • Abbreviation: J. Law Conflict. Resolut
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2006-9804
  • DOI: 10.5897/JLCR
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 102

Full Length Research Paper

Terrorism, the subaltern, and the politics of recognition: Rethinking Hegel and Honneth

Sinkwan Cheng
  • Sinkwan Cheng
  • NAH 102, Chinese University of Hong Kong Shatin, N.T., Hong Kong.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 21 November 2011
  •  Accepted: 12 March 2012
  •  Published: 30 June 2014


This essay begins by analyzing how Hegel and Honneth’s theory of recognition would seem to lend support to insurgent terrorists’ struggle for the right to self-determination. Insurgent terrorism looks like a concretization of what Honneth calls the moral protest of the oppressed against the powerful. Insurgent terrorism also resembles the politics of recognition in that it challenges the legitimacy of the forces owned by the state, seeking public recognition instead for the legitimacy of their own cause. Precisely because what matters uppermost to terrorists is public recognition for their cause, terrorists are eager to seize the mass media to champion their ideas. This essay will end, however, by pointing out major differences between insurgent terrorism on the one hand, and Hegel and Honneth on the other.
Key words: Colonialism, Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Fredrich, Honneth, Axel, imagined community, (insurgent) terrorism.