Relationships to Recognition Among Generation Z College Students
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The struggle for recognition represents the primary motivation underpinning social conflict among humans (Honneth, 1992). The human need for recognition refers to the desire to be seen in a positive light (Lammont, 2018). Given that human consciousness and identity formation take shape through reciprocal realization, recognition is not merely a crutch for the needy, but a fundamental human need that foregrounds the constitution of one’s identity (Hegel, 1807; Honneth, 1992; Mead & Morris 1967; Taylor 1994.). This study investigates Generation Z college students’ relationships to recognition and the factors that influence those relationships. Quantitative self-report measures were used to gather the ideological and behavioral orientations held by participants. This information was gathered in order to examine whether or not such orientations had an influence on participants’ relationships to recognition. Survey data found that all participants hold similarly high levels of both autonomous and communal orientation. Qualitative individual interviews were implemented to parse out the nuances regarding Generation Z college students’ relationships to recognition. Individual interviews were used to supplement the results provided by survey data. Individual interviews indicate that participants experience tension between concurrent orientations toward autonomy and community. The presence of both orientations among participants seems to have led them to experience their need for recognition in a complex fashion. This complex relationship is reflected by the misrecognition of the very need for recognition constituting the cultural model representing Generation Z college students’ relationships to recognition.