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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter October 12, 2018

Ten forms of recognition and misrecognition in long-term care for older people

Arto Laitinen and Jari Pirhonen
From the journal SATS


During recent decades, theories of mutual recognition have been intensively debated in social philosophy. According to one of the main theorists in the field, Axel Honneth, the entire social world may be based on interpersonal recognition (such as mutual respect, esteem and care). Our aim is to study what it would take that residents in long-term care would become adequately interpersonally recognized. We also examine who could be seen as bearing the responsibility for providing such recognition. In this paper, we distinguish ten aspects of recognition. We suggest that in order to support residents’ dignity, long-term care should be arranged in a way that preserves residents’ full personhood regardless of their cognitive or other abilities: the mere fact that they are human persons is a ground for recognition as a person. But further, in good care residents’ personal characteristics and residents’ ties to significant others are also recognized to enable them to feel loved, esteemed and respected.


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Published Online: 2018-10-12
Published in Print: 2019-11-26

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