Antje Linkenbach gives a working paper on ‚Asynchronicity, Ambiguity and Contingency: Provincializing Theories of Modernity‘

The present contribution examines recent sociological, non-linear and contingencysensitive ways of engagement with modernity, which attribute different significance to normative questions and refer to different levels of socio-historical configuration. It will lay particular emphasis on the work of Johan P. Arnason, as one of the most advanced, although non-normative approaches to modernity. This will be followed by a discussion of normative approaches to modernity offered by Hartmut Rosa and Peter Wagner. I will argue that a normative perspective is constitutive for social theory and questions about the emancipative potential and possibilities of modernity must be at the core of analysis (see Joas, Knöbl 2004). I will further argue that while it seems reasonable to discuss modernity from a macro-perspective and even in the context of civilizational analysis, and so move to a geopolitical higher level or ‘hyper-social system (Mauss) – as it is prominently done in the work of Johan P. Arnason -, the reverse route has never been received adequate attention. Modernity should also be approached from a microsociological perspective, which takes into account the temporally, spatially and socially contextualized acting subject in a locality or a region. Special attention should be given to the postcolonial encounter.