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Misrecognition: the unequal division of labour and contributive justice

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/ProceedingsChapter


Publication date2011
Host publicationThe politics of misrecognition
EditorsSimon Thompson, Majid Yar
Place of publicationFarnham
Number of pages24
ISBN (Print)978-1-4094-0169-8
Original languageEnglish


The kind of recognition that people get depends much upon what they do, particularly in terms of employment. Yet the possibilities for doing jobs that tend to attract recognition depend crucially upon the division of labour. Where employment is concerned, the division of labour is unequal in the sense that jobs vary considerably in quality, in particular in the extent to which they offer opportunities for interesting, responsible and skilled work. This makes it impossible for all to get recognition for doing such work. This is a source of 'contributive injustice' - injustice regarding what people are allowed to do or contribute. Unless the division of labour is equalised by making all jobs include work of differing qualities, so that all get the chance to do satisfying, valued work, as well as tedious but necessary work, equal recognition for all will be unattainable. So recognition depends not just on distribution, but contribution, and the social structures, particularly the division of labour which enable and constrain contributions