Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

The weight of poverty and the role of the subject

Gottfried Schweiger


This paper examines the role of subjective experiences in social philosophy and discusses it in relation to the critique of poverty. The subjects of poverty –the poor– and their stories can either be viewed as an essential voice in criticizing poverty or they can be viewed as flawed, distorted and misleading in contrast to 'objective' measures. I will discuss two different of theories, the capabilities approach – developed by Amartya Sen –and the recognition approach– mainly associated with Axel Honneth. While Sen is reluctant to give the poor a saying in the evaluation of their condition, Honneth, staying within the trade-tion of Critical Theory, views them as indispensable for social critique. So, both theories also bring forward different ideas how to understand and conceptualize normative theory.

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