Starting from the current debate on work and recognition, the article describes how shifts within the cultural frames of work, the transformation of hierarchies into internal markets and the development of a service economy lead to problems which can take the form of a 'paradox of recognition'. This paradox cannot be dissolved simply by a conceptual distinction between equal respect for persons and qualifying esteem of performance and efficiency, at least as long as we are interested in a matching of empirical analysis and normative critique. The normative claims for visibility and transparency of work are described as a paradigmatic case for the entanglement of questions of respect and esteem. With respect to recent developments within critical theory, the article argues that the idea of immanent critique needs further elaboration in order to accentuate the relation between normative critique and functional analysis.
© 2011 by Lucius & Lucius, Stuttgart