Hartmut Rosa presents a working paper on ‚Resonant Sovereignty? The Challenge of Social Acceleration – and the Prospect of an Alternative Conception‘

Traditionally, conceptions of sovereignty are based on, and dependent on, the capacity to synchronize political decision making with both the internal dynamics of social and economic life and the external speeds of global markets and technologies as well as environmental processes. Only as long as politics is capable of setting and/or following the pace of societal life, the idea of sovereignty appears to be plausible. Yet, modern societies continue to operate in a mode of dynamic stabilization, which means that they are persistently forced to grow, accelerate and innovate in order to reproduce their structure and to preserve their institutional status quo. This leads to a form of social acceleration which threatens or even destroys this very capacity for synchronization; it leads to serious forms of desynchronization on all levels of social and political life (i.e. between citizens, between markets and politics, between states as well as between social life and environmental temporalities). Hence, this contribution argues, what is needed is a different conception of ‘soft sovereignty’ which is not based on autonomy and instrumental control, but on responsivity on all those levels: This form of sovereignty, or of the common good, is realized when a body politic establishes ‘axes of resonance’ a) between citizens b) between citizens and the ‚body politic‘ as a whole, c) towards the (natural and institutional) environment d) towards history and e) towards other political bodies beyond its borders.