Martin Fuchs presents a working paper on ‚Reciprocal Recognition: Claims of Universality and Ontological Assumptions. A Comparative Sociological Reflection‘

The paper intends to elicit the suitability of the recognition theorem for social and societal analyses (Sozial- und Gesellschaftsanalysen), different from eliciting its usefulness in socio-philosophical discussions. Regarding the question of normativity, the goal is to clarify whether, and if so how, critique of social conditions of humiliation, disrespect, etc. can here find the conceptual anchor suggested. The approach is a twofold one: a systematic reconstruction of core aspects of the concept of recognition and of parts of the debate on recognition, with regard especially to weak points regarding its application in social analysis, and, secondly, a systematic introduction of empirical problems of humiliation and degradation, tracing basic questions that arise during historical processes. The paper raises questions and suggests some answers. The paper attempts helping clarify the relevance of the recognition theorem or postulate for social analysis and social theory.

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

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.

Andreas Pettenkofer is going to present a working paper on ‚The irreducibly collective character of criticism‘

In our ‘liberal’ ordinary language of politics, political criticism is usually described as a product of individuals who resist collective pressures; here, “the collective” appears as that which suppresses critique. This is mirrored by a “sociology of critique” that sees critical activities as being founded in individual capacities. Against this kind of assumption, this paper tries to show how nonconformist acts of criticism are internally tied to collective processes. For this purpose, it uses concepts from Durkheim’s social theory (which emphasizes aspects of the sociality of mind that are not emphasized in pragmatist analyses). Through this, the paper also tries to show what a Durkheimian approach can contribute to a sociology of critique.