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Stasis and Struggles for Recognition in Aristotle's Politics V

Date and Time: 
Thursday, April 25, 2019. 03:30 PM - 05:00 PM
Meeting Location: 
Humanities Center Boardroom
Workshop: 
Ethics and Politics, Ancient and Modern 2018
Meeting Description: 

All EPAM sessions are pre-read. We will begin with a brief summary of the paper and comments by a graduate student, followed by a response from Dr. Canevaro. Afterward, the floor will be opened for questions.

This paper argues that in Book V of the Politics, in discussing the ‘causes’ of stasis and metabole, Aristotle engages with debates about the value frameworks and motivations of the actors involved in struggles over redistribution and political, moral, and social revolutions. Despite the different normative, cultural, and political framework of his analysis, these debates, and Aristotle’s take on them, have considerable similarities with Axel Honneth’s contention that redistribution struggles are not qualitatively different from recognition struggles, and his denial that redistribution struggles are exclusively about the allocation of resources, and conceptualized as such by their participants. Like Honneth, Aristotle contends that staseis always originate from, and are justified by, different conceptions of what scholars have translated as ‘proportional equality’ or ‘proportional justice’, which is literally equality or justice ‘based on worth’, ‘based on value’ (kat’ axian).  Different ideas about the ‘just’ allocation and the redistribution of wealth and honour are, for Aristotle, based on different basic ideas about what constitutes ‘value’ and produces ‘worth’ (axia), and competing redistributive claims not only are always justified in terms of, but do in fact originate from, competing ideas about the correct grounds for ‘value’, ‘worth’. These are, to use Honneth’s terminology, the competing recognition orders that face off when struggles for recognition emerge. Aristotle’s analysis of the causes of stasis paints a picture of stasis that is akin to what Honneth describes as a struggle for recognition, and of metabole as the transition from one recognition order to another.

Dr. Mirko Canevaro received his PhD from Durham University in classics and ancient history in 2012. In 2012, he took up the Alexander von Humboldt Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Mannheim. In 2013, he moved to Edinburgh to take up a Chancellor’s fellowship in classics, and he was made a reader in Greek history in 2017. In 2014, he was appointed member of the Royal Society of Edinburgh Young Academy of Scotland and, since January 2015, co-chair of the arts and humanities in Society Working Group. In 2015 he was awarded a Philip Leverhulme Prize in recognition of his research achievements. In 2017, he was the visiting professor of Greek history at the Università degli Studi di Torino and then a fellow of the Yong Academy of Europe. He was then awarded both the Royal Society of Edinburgh's Thomas Reid Medal for Excellence in Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, and the University of Edinburgh Chancellor’s Rising Star Award, in recognition of his research on Greek politics and law. He has been awarded, along with Douglas Cairns, an ERC grant for a project on 'Honour in Classical Greece'. He regularly writes opinion pieces for Il Fatto Quotidiano, an Italian national newspaper, and for MicroMega, an Italian cultural magazine.

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