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Martin Steinlechner — Ph.D. student at the University of Innsbruck, Austria


Martin Steinlechner holds an MA in Social Theory and currently is a PhD candidate in Sociology at the University of Innsbruck, Austria. His research interests are critical perspectives on social science, mainly focusing on different approaches from Adorno to Honneth, as developed in the tradition of the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory.

In his dissertation project, Martin addresses fundamental concerns regarding Axel Honneth’s theory of recognition as as the most prominent contemporary paradigm of the Frankfurt School. From this vantage point, Honneth has been elaborating a notion of the subject in a manner that superelevates its potential of development, and along such lines, also the potential of social conflict as the key concept of critical theory.  The central thesis of the dissertation is that Honneth underestimates the importance of structures of power and authority reproducing themselves within the regime of recognition, and concordantly, the potential of protest to legitimize the current social, political, and economic order.

Examining Honneth‘s key concepts of society and critique, the dissertation will address one key question: can Honneth fulfill his claim to focus on the suffering of people as a capacity to transcend existing circumstances today?