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Since the 1990s, the notion of social recognition has developed into a key concept for sociological theory. Recognition theory seems especially promising as a means of understanding intercultural conflicts, as the sociology of intercultural relations often addresses claims of recognition of a specific identity that is different from that of the main society.
The aim of this article is to show that recognition theory can be used as a key concept in examining group inclusion in multicultural societies. Nevertheless, the existing theoretical approaches to recognition are insufficient for that purpose. Therefore, I develop my own approach to the recognition of minority groups as second-order recognition.
The concept of second-order recognition helps analyzing, understanding and evaluating conflicts in multicultural societies. It allows conflicts within groups that involve a struggle for first-order recognition to be distinguished from conflicts between cultural minorities and the main society that involve a struggle for second-order recognition.