ResonanceA Sociology of Our Relationship to the World
Resonance
A Sociology of Our Relationship to the World
Translated by James Wagner

The pace of modern life is undoubtedly speeding up, yet this acceleration does not seem to have made us any happier or more content. If acceleration is the problem, then the solution, argues Hartmut Rosa in this major new work, lies in “resonance.” The quality of a human life cannot be measured simply in terms of resources, options, and moments of happiness; instead, we must consider our relationship to, or resonance with, the world.

Applying his theory of resonance to many domains of human activity, Rosa describes the full spectrum of ways in which we establish our relationship to the world, from the act of breathing to the adoption of culturally distinct worldviews. He then turns to the realms of concrete experience and action – family and politics, work and sports, religion and art – in which we as late modern subjects seek out resonance.  This task is proving ever more difficult as modernity’s logic of escalation is both cause and consequence of a distorted relationship to the world, at individual and collective levels. As Rosa shows, all the great crises of modern society – the environmental crisis, the crisis of democracy, the psychological crisis – can also be understood and analyzed in terms of resonance and our broken relationship to the world around us.

Building on his now classic work on acceleration, Rosa’s new book is a major new contribution to the theory of modernity, showing how our problematic relation to the world is at the crux of some of the most pressing issues we face today. This bold renewal of critical theory for our times will be of great interest to students and scholars across the social sciences and humanities.

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  • July 2019 (hb)
    January 2021 (pb)
  • 450 pages
  • 163 x 232 mm / 6 x 9 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $45.00
  • 9781509519897
  • Paperback $26.95
  • 9781509519910
  • Open eBook $29.99
  • 9781509519927
Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xii

In Lieu of a Foreword: Sociology and the Story of Anna and Hannah 1

I Introduction 17

PART ONE: THE BASIC ELEMENTS OF HUMAN RELATIONSHIP TO THE WORLD

II Bodily Relationships to the world 47

III Appropriating World and Experiencing World 83

IV Emotional, Evaluative, abd Cognitive Relationships to the World 110

V Resonance and Alienation as Basic Categories of a Theory of Our Relationship to the World 145

PART TWO: SPHERES AND AXES OF RESONANCE

VI Introduction: Spheres of Resonance, Recognition, and the Axes of Our Relationship to the World 195

VII Horizontal Axes of Resonance 202

VIII Diagonal Axes of Resonance 226

IX Vertical Axes of Resonance 258

PART THREE: FEAR OF THE MUTING OF THE WORLD: A RECONSTRUCTION OF MODERNITY IN TERMS OF RESONANCE THEORY

X Modernity as the History of Catastrophe of Resonance 307

XI Modernity as the History of Increasing Sensitivity to Resonance 357

XII Deserts and Oases of Life: Modern Everyday Practices in Terms of Resonance Theory 367

PART FOUR: A CRITICAL THEORY OF OUR RELATIONSHIP TO THE WORLD

XIII Social Conditions of Successful and Unsuccessful Relationships to the World 381

XIV Dynamic Stabilization: The Escalatory Logic of Modernity and Its Consequences 404

XV Late Modern Crises of Resonance and the Contours of a Post-Growth Society 425

In Lieu of an Afterword: Defending Resonance Theory against Its Critice -- and Optimism agaibst Skeptics 444

Notes 460

References 504

Index 529

About the Author

Hartmut Rosa is Professor of Sociology at the Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, Germany, and Director of the Max Weber Center for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies, Erfurt, Germany.

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Reviews

"If in the rush to increase production and wealth, we ever pause to consider what a good life would be like, and whether we’re missing something essential, Rosa’s book Resonance would be a good place to start. This remarkable work combines systematic theory with a host of valuable insights into human fulfillments that we too easily forgo."
Charles Taylor, McGill University

"Affirmation of ordinary life is a key feature of modernity, but alienation from the world is a persistent experience of modern men and women. In Resonance, Rosa offers sketches of an alternative relation to the world and thereby a foundation for a sociology of the good life. A very important text and highly recommended."
Miroslav Volf, Yale University

"Hartmut Rosa is one of the leading and most distinctive voices in contemporary social theory. In Resonance he continues the important analysis of the very nature of modernity laid out in Social Acceleration, and offers a new approach to basic human relationships, both to other people and to the world. This is a truly important book."
Craig Calhoun, Arizona State University

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