Hartmut Rosa presents a working paper on ‚Social Media Filters and Resonances: Democracy and the Contemporary Public Sphere‘

Democratic conceptions of politics are tacitly or explicitly predicated upon a functioning arena for the formation of public opinion in an associated media-space. Policy making thus requires a reliable connection to processes of ‘public’ will-formation. These processes formed the focus for Habermas’ influential study on the Public Sphere. This contribution presents a look at more recent ‘structural transformations, the causes of which are by no means limited to social media communication, and examines its consequences. It proceeds in three steps: 1) In some proximity to Habermas, but also by means of the theory of resonance, it seeks to determine the kind of public sphere that a democratic polity requires. 2) An analysis of problems within the contemporary public sphere will feed into 3) a discussion of the conditions for the restoration of a ‘functioning political public sphere’. These include changes in the realms of participation, representation and spaces of encounter

Discussion event: „I want to be happy NOW!“

The Max-Weber-Kolleg of the University of Erfurt and the Catholic Forum in the State of Thuringia cordially invite all interested parties to an event on Monday, 25 October, dealing with modern life design and religious hope. It is entitled „I want to be happy NOW!“ and will take place in digital form. It starts at 6 pm.

The focus of the event is the book „Fulfilment in this world. How Contemporary Utopias Challenge the Christian Message of Salvation“ by Josef Römelt, moral theologian at the University of Erfurt. Moderated by Jörg Rüpke, Hartmut Rosa from the Max-Weber-Kolleg and Cornelia Richter from the University of Bonn will discuss this evening.

Registration for this event is now possible by email at mwk.tagungsanmeldung@uni-erfurt.de. After registration you will receive an access link.

Stream on Youtube

New publication: „Spätmoderne in der Krise – Was leistet die Gesellschaftstheorie?“

Under the title „Spätmoderne in der Krise – Was leistet die Gesellschaftstheorie?“ (Late Modernity in Crisis – What Does Social Theory Achieve?) a new book by Hartmut Rosa and Andreas Reckwitz will be published by Suhrkamp/Insel in October.

In times of profound social upheavals and manifest crises, the time has come for fundamental analyses that take a look at contemporary society as a whole, examine its structural features and dynamics and perhaps even point out ways out of the crisis-like development. Recently, Andreas Reckwitz and Hartmut Rosa have presented large-scale but very differently accentuated theories of society, which decisively determine the current debates on late modernity. In this joint book, they now enter into a critical dialogue.

Based on the shared concern that the analysis of modernity as a social formation belongs at the centre of a sociology that takes seriously its task of enlightening society about itself, they first unfold their own socio-theoretical perspectives in extensive essays: while Reckwitz chooses „social practices“, „contingency“ and „singularisation“ as guiding concepts, Rosa opts for „acceleration“, „increase“ and „resonance“. In the second part of the book, they again sharpen their positions, work out commonalities, but also mark fundamental differences – in a direct conversation moderated by Martin Bauer.

The authors
Hartmut Rosa is Professor of General and Theoretical Sociology at the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena and Director of the Max-Weber-Kolleg at the University of Erfurt.

Andreas Reckwitz is Professor of General Sociology and Sociology of Culture at Humboldt University Berlin and currently a Fellow at the Thomas Mann House in Los Angeles. In 2019, he received the Leibniz Prize of the German Research Foundation. The Society of Singularities was awarded the Bavarian Book Prize 2017 and was shortlisted for the Leipzig Book Fair Prize in the non-fiction/essay category in 2018.

Andreas Reckwitz and Hartmut Rosa
Spätmoderne in der Krise – Was leistet die Gesellschaftstheorie?
Suhrkamp / Insel, Oktober 2021
ISBN: 978-3-518-58775-1
300 pages
28 EUR

Marcus Döller presents a working paper on ‚Action and Sociality: Model of Infortune‘

In chapter 20 of my PhD project I am going to conceptualize a processual understanding of subjectivity on the one side and social reproduction on the other side. In referring to Rosa I show that both accounts are interwoven with each other on a level of social constitution and reproduction. I take Rosa to radicalize how we can think of transformation in subjective and social conditions of modernity. My systematical starting point and end point as well is the concept of “practical capacities”. This is the theoretical framework in which I want to place what human action as capacity of the subject could be. My suggestion is to understand creative actions as actualization of what I call “incapacities internal to capacities”. The chapter articulates this dialectic on the level of subjective action and social structure. In developing three different models in subjectivity (i), social revolution (ii) and nature (iii) I show that transformation has to think about regressive moments as moments of standstill. The concept of standstill is crucial for my elaboration of transformative action as liberation because it helps me to think transformation as producing something that is as well a fundamental resistance against the social order and transformative potential within the social reproduction at the same time. In order to understand liberation – the overall topic of all of my chapters – we have to understand both moments.

New Publication: „Erfüllung im Diesseits“

A new book by Josef Römelt, moral theologian at the University of Erfurt, has been published by Herder under the title „Erfüllung im Diesseits“ (Fulfilment in this world). It looks at the question of how contemporary utopias challenge the Christian message of salvation.

The religious offer of a final anchorage in God, in a life after death, is challenged today by a widespread fascination with this world, with life in the here and now. Josef Römelt’s book explores the spiritual atmosphere of our time and enters into a dialogue with the popular thinkers Yuval Noah Harari („Homo Deus“) and Hartmut Rosa („Resonance“), whose utopias have found a great echo.

Harari stands for a functional-rational, technically-perfected view of reality, as represented by the so-called transhumanists. They promise an optimisation of life in this world with the help of natural science and technology. Hartmut Rosa, on the other hand, has presented an influential counter-vision with his theory of resonance and resonant human relationships with the world. Both exponents of the intellectual atmosphere of our time fundamentally challenge the Christian message of salvation. Josef Römelt shows how the Christian faith can find a new, human-friendly language in the confrontation with Harari and Rosa and thus open up important resources of meaning: It becomes an invitation to the human longing for deep vitality, joie de vivre and a love of life, to trust oneself even in the borderline experiences of failure, illness and death.

Hartmut Rosa appointed „Distinguished Senior Scientist“ of the Johanna Quandt Young Academy

For his outstanding achievements in research and his exceptional commitment to promoting young scholars and international academic cooperation, Professor Hartmut Rosa, Director of the Max-Weber-Kolleg at the University of Erfurt, has now been appointed „Distinguished Senior Scientist“ of the Frankfurt Johanna Quandt Yound Academy.

Since 2018, the interdisciplinary and international Johanna Quandt Young Academy at Goethe (JQ Young Academy, JQY A), under the leadership of its director, Professor Matthias Lutz-Bachmann, has been supporting a number of selected excellent early-career researchers from all departments at Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main in their academic careers. These are admitted to the Academy as Fellows. In addition, the Academy invites three to four internationally established researchers as so-called „Distinguished Senior Scientists“, who act as an external scientific committee for the JQ Young Academy.

The award, which is endowed with 10,000 €, is accompanied by the fact that Hartmut Rosa is involved in the annual selection of the fellows as a committee member for three years. In addition, he will take part in the annual conferences of the JQ Young Academy and contribute with a keynote speech.

Rosa: „I am very pleased about this award, which recognises and supports a model of intergenerational cooperation with senior and junior fellows that we have been successfully practising at the Max-Weber-Kolleg for a long time.“

Academia Europaea appoints Prof. Dr. Hartmut Rosa

Prof. Dr. Hartmut Rosa, Director of the Max Weber College for Cultural and Social Studies at the University of Erfurt, has been appointed a full member of the Academia Europaea. He is part of the section „Social Change and Social Thought“.

Founded in 1988 on the initiative of the UK Royal Society and other European academies, the Academy brings together scholars from around the world who are committed to excellent scientific practice in their disciplines and the dissemination of education to all people and age groups. Its aim is to promote European science and to advise governments and organizations on scientific issues. The Academy strives to promote the highest possible standards in science, research and education and to improve the understanding of the general public of the benefits of knowledge and education and of scientific issues affecting society, quality of life and living standards. Membership is by personal invitation only. Hartmut Rosa: „It is a special honor to have been appointed to this prestigious body, which gives me the opportunity to contribute to the scientific debates on how to create a better society“.

A new book by Hartmut Rosa and Jörg Oberthür: ‚Gesellschaftstheorie‘

Moderne Gesellschaften sind von permanenter Veränderung und konfliktreichen Dynamiken geprägt. Soziale Prozesse mit vielfältigen intendieren und nicht intendierten Folgen bewirken eine hohe Unübersichtlichkeit gesellschaftlicher Phänomene. Vor diesem Hintergrund stellt sich die Frage nach der Möglichkeit einer ‚begrifflichen Klammer‘ zur ihrer Beschreibung und Bearbeitung dringlicher als je zuvor.

Das Buch von Hartmut Rosa (Direktor des Max-Weber-Kollegs der Universität Erfurt und Professor an der Universität Jena) und von Jörg Oberthür (Universität Jena) will die Antwort auf die Frage nach dem veränderlichen Wesen von Gesellschaft in dreifacher Hinsicht aktualisieren. Erstens macht die vorliegende Einführung in die Gesellschaftstheorie anhand ausgewählter Theoretiker und Theoretikerinnen mit der Entwicklung der wesentlichen Grundbegriffe in den Sozialwissenschaften vertraut und verdeutlicht exemplarisch ihre Anwendung in konkreten gegenstandsbezogenen Analysen.

Zweitens stellt dieses Buch einen Versuch einer Debattenübersicht zur Gesellschaftstheorie dar. Schließlich ist es aber auch ein Plädoyer für einen starken Gesellschaftsbegriff, der Widersprüche, Dynamiken und Spannungen aufnimmt, ohne das Ziel aufzugeben, zu einem besseren Verständnis des ‚Ganzen‘ zu gelangen. Informationen zum Buch: https://www.utb-shop.de/gesellschaftstheorie-10724.html

Anton Röhr gives a working paper on ‚Metamorphosis of criticism in affirmation? Hartmut Rosa and Theodor W. Adorno‘

This paper contains a productive confrontation/conversation between the concept of resonance by Hartmut Rosa and the negative Dialectics of T.W. Adorno. As its starting point it takes Rosas proposition, that his concept is in advantage to Adornos, in so far it contains an elabo-rated concept of the good life, while Adorno‘s seems to remain dark and pessimistic. Based on that, this paper tries to show, why the „pessi-mism“-label doesn‘t fit really to Adornos work. Rather there are very reasonable concerns, that lead Adorno to the view he holds. In this pa-per the concept of resonance meets Adornos concerns, that can be summed up by the term „metamorphosis of critique to affirmation“. In the course of this paper, I try to reveal with Adornos thoughts, that because of the method of social critique Rosa applies, his theory of re-sonance tends to perform this „metamorphosis“ literally behind his back.

João Tziminadis presents a working paper on ‚The Unleashed Life and the Fading Body‘

This text is my first attempt to frame theoretically the relation between modern Biotechnology and the historical, epistemological, and normative constitution of Biogerontology, the science responsible for the study of biological ageing. The first part is an attempt to under-stand the cultural placement of modern Biotechnology, for which I resort to Hartmut Rosa’s concept of Verfügbarmachung as a useful tool. The second one departs from the suspect that the possibilities opened by modern Biotechnology might have impacted the main-stream scientific understanding of human ageing, so that I present central biogerontological concepts that might reflect that impact. The relation between Biotechnology’s promise of unleashing life from its biological limitations and Biogerontology’s new understanding of ageing as life-encompassing process of loss of function weaves the text.