Not apologising for a community: Young people’s responses to misrecognition and stigma
This article considers the experiences of four groups of young people (from Germany, Estonia, Russia and the UK) whose ‘mode of being’ is reduced or distorted in different ways as a result of misrecognition or stigmatisation. It argues that the responses young people make to this form of social subordination are enabled or constrained by the recognition status - misrecognition, absence of recognition or stigmatisation - they experience. It demonstrates that the experience of misrecognition and stigmatisation, in some cases, may constitute a resource to act and stimulate social change but that the institutional response to it may also work to re-embed the stigma or misrecognition that young people’s action sought to counter. It argues that stigmatisation and misrecognition are more than the accumulation of negative representations of individuals or groups. They reflect the configuration of power relations that underpin the institutionalisation of the labelling of specific groups as unworthy of respect and deny them the opportunity to participate equally in social life. The outcome of the struggle for recognition is thus not a matter of young people ‘choosing’ a positive identity or showing the desire to engage but the willingness of society to open itself to that engagement.