‘The feeling’s mutual’: respect as the basis for cooperative interaction

Peter Somerville

in Securing respect

Published by Policy Press

Published in print April 2009 | ISBN: 9781847420947
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447303336 | DOI:
‘The feeling’s mutual’: respect as the basis for cooperative interaction

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This chapter reviews the current understanding of mutual respect and recognition, identifying it as a general form of cooperative interaction and identifying is as practices of civility, sociability and intimacy. The chapter also differentiates the ‘thick’ and ‘thin’ variants of civility and sociability and offers a new perspective on solidarity. It aims to determine the correlation between disrespect and social inequality and attempts to illustrate how disrespect stems from the latter. It also provides a critic on the government approaches to respect, particularly the Respect Action Plan which is believed to be disrespectful and counterproductive. The chapter also examines the issue of ‘informal social control’ as an alternative to governmental approaches. The concluding discussion focuses on suggestions on how mutual respect and recognition may be better promoted in communities.

Keywords: mutual respect; recognition; cooperative interaction; civility; sociability; disrespect; social inequality; informal social control; government approaches

Chapter.  10894 words. 

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