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    Hartmut Rosa, High-Speed Society - Social Acceleration, Power and Modernity + Social Acceleration: A New Theory of Modernity

    Johnathan R. Razorback
    Johnathan R. Razorback

    Messages : 18918
    Date d'inscription : 12/08/2013
    Localisation : France

    Hartmut Rosa, High-Speed Society - Social Acceleration, Power and Modernity + Social Acceleration: A New Theory of Modernity Empty Hartmut Rosa, High-Speed Society - Social Acceleration, Power and Modernity + Social Acceleration: A New Theory of Modernity

    Message par Johnathan R. Razorback Sam 19 Déc - 13:59



    "During the period of “classical” modernity, the temporal structures that resulted from the interaction of this principle with the initial conditions of early modern societies gave rise to a window of opportunity for that quintessentially modern promise of self-determination on both the individual and collective levels. Yet the further operation of the complex self reinforcing syndrome of factors driving social acceleration now seems to have closed that window. The increases in speed that made classical modernity possible, with prospects at once both liberating and frightening, now both render it obsolete and threaten to break it apart at the seams and leave us in a paradoxical, characteristically late modern condition of frenetic standstill." (p.XVII)

    "Rosa sees modernization as having been analyzed by the classical sociological thinkers in the four key dimensions of culture, personality structures , social structures , and society’s relation to nature. This generated accounts of modernity as, respectively, rationalization (Weber), individualization (Simmel), functional differentiation (Durkheim), and the domestication of nature (Marx). For each of these, so to speak, “positive” dimensions of modernization, there is also a paradoxical “negative” flip side. The rationalization of cultural and social life leads to an erosion of meaning resources. The same processes that lead to the greater prominence of individuality in modern life also seem bound up with the emergence of an industrially produced and stereotyped “mass culture,” the social and political salience of “the masses” and other forms of “massifi cation” that plague modern societies and seem to make nonsense of their promise to liberate individuals to realize their own “unique” possibilities. Increasing functional differentiation, and the related phenomena of a division of labor and increasing specialization, lead to impressive gains in productivity and the general ability to process complexity, but also a tendency toward societal disintegration. Finally, the advancing technological domestication of nature that promised to liberate humankind from material want and thus usher in a transition from the realm of necessity into the realm of freedom increasingly seems to threaten human society with ecological catastrophe." (p.XIX)

    "In Rosa’s view the three main types of acceleration in modern society are technical acceleration (this category includes both acceleration achieved through improvements of the techniques used by agents in carrying out a given activity as well as that which results from the introduction of new technologies), the acceleration of social change , and the acceleration of the pace of life.

    These types are internally related to each other in the sense that their respective modes of functioning result in mutual causal reinforcement. This is what Rosa calls “the circle of acceleration.” Simply put, technical acceleration tends to increase the pace of social change, which in turn unavoidably increases the experienced pace of life, which then induces an ongoing demand for technical acceleration in the hopes of saving time, and so on back around the circle. However, each of these forms of acceleration also has an external driver or “motor” that injects further energy into the circle of acceleration. When the effects of these external motors are combined with the internal interaction of the forms of acceleration, the result is a self-propelling “spiral” of acceleration that takes on a life of its own and does the lion’s share in generating the experience of a “runaway world.” The result is an acceleration society , defi ned as a society that simultaneously exhibits technical acceleration and the acceleration of the pace of life (i.e., an increasing scarcity of time): in other words, where rates of growth (in the quantity of goods/services produced, messages communicated, actions performed, experiential episodes, etc.) outpace rates of acceleration of those activities. Technical (and technological) acceleration is driven by the economic motor symbolized in the proverbial expression “time is money,” whose grammatically indicative form hides, so to speak, the categorical capitalist imperatives of maximizing the amount of salable goods or services produced per unit of time and of being the first to introduce innovations. Especially when operating at large scales and volumes, small temporal advantages over competitors can mean immense profi ts for those in the lead—and ruin for those behind.

    The acceleration of social change, on the other hand, is propelled by the social- structural motor of functional differentiation, which is more colloquially known to us in our everyday lives in the form of professional specialization and the division of labor. This extraordinarily consequential aspect of modernization typically allows immense gains in processing speed and productivity.

    But these gains themselves tend to induce faster social change because they multiply social arenas of action; as a result there arises a very serious need for coordination and synchronization across domains that can only be met in the first instance by strict temporal regimentation and time discipline. Last, the acceleration of the pace of life is externally driven by the cultural promise of acceleration in the form of a secularization of the religious promise of eternal life. In premodern society the social and natural world were viewed as fundamentally unchanging or as at most rotating among stages of an already known “cycle.” One missed nothing by living only several decades, since in that span one could see most of the central things existence could offer. In addition, even as the processes leading to modernity began to take hold, the culturally dominant religious conception of an eternal life after death automatically brought the time of life into congruence with all that the world and its time could offer. Then the crossing of the threshold to modernity, the rise of the idea of progress, and the related sense that society itself is in motion, in conjunction with the shattering of the cultural hegemony of religious ideas, opened up a terrifying gap between the seemingly infi nite experiential possibilities that will develop in an ever more perfect future and the starkly limited span of one human life in a still unperfected society here and now. Therefore the prospect of accelerating our ability to have different experiences, and thus to exhaust the available possibilities, becomes extremely seductive. The more we can accelerate our ability to go to different places, see new things, try new foods, embrace various forms of spirituality, learn new activities, share sensual pleasures with others whether it be in dancing or sex, experience different forms of art, and so on, the less incongruence there is between the possibilities of experience we can realize in our own lifetimes and the total array of possibilities available to human beings now and in the future—that is, the closer we come to having a truly “fulfi lled” life, in the literal sense of one that is as fi lled full of experiences as it can possibly be. This utopian and ultimately chimerical idea depends on our ability to approach an infinite acceleration of our capacity to experience and act. It is self-contradictory to the extent that the very means by which the acceleration is to be achieved, typically technological ones, generate new possibilities of experience. Hence it will often even be the case that a new technology will yield a net decrease in the ratio of actual to possible experiences. Yet this ersatz form of redemption or salvation through a “fulfi lled” life is deeply entrenched in modern culture.

    Consider as evidence the following statement made by Angelina Jolie in a recent interview in which she unintentionally demonstrates the power of the cultural promise of acceleration: “I was actually quite a cool kid. I was not tough. I was certainly independent and bold. I was never teased. I never had any trouble from anybody. But I was never satisfi ed. I had trouble sleeping. I didn’t really fi t. I always feel that I’m searching for something deeper, something more, more. . . . You want to meet other people that challenge you with ideas or with power or with passion. I wanted to live very fully. I wanted to live many lives and explore many things.”." (pp.XX-XXII)

    "Rosa’s work vigorously asserts the legitimacy and even necessity of evaluative and normative engagement on the part of any adequate sociology." (p.XXV)

    "Among critical theorists the tone was set by Habermas, who has defended a strong conceptual separation between “moral” issues of justice or rightness that are universal (or universalizable) in nature and “ethical” issues concerning the good that inevitably involve the particular conceptions of the good held by individuals or social groups. 44 For him this is also bound up with the related theses, fi rst, that from a normative point of view the right always trumps the good if they come into confl ict and, second, the view that in the pluralistic milieus of modern societies philosophy has no role to play in offering substantive guidance concerning which lives are the good ones. At most it can clarify the nature of the question as it confronts individuals and communities and elucidate the process of refl ective self-understanding and self-interpretation required for them to answer it for themselves." (p.XXVI)

    "Laws whose provisions do not themselves establish such “non-neutral” outcomes may, given the circumstances, happen to engender the decrease or even disappearance of certain ways of life or conceptions of the good as a result of morally unobjectionable processes. In itself this is a morally neutral fact. Basic moral norms entail respect for persons, not forms of life or traditions or worldviews as such. But the case is slightly different when background conditions foreseeably and reliably engender disadvantages for some ways of life or, more important, foreseeably provide powerful, perhaps even overwhelming, incentives to pursue a specific and possibly highly restricted range of goods (or conceptions of the good). In Rosa’s view this is precisely the case in modern liberal polities, not as a positive result of state action, but because they are embedded in capitalist socioeconomic orders. For this reason, the apparently extensive and endlessly celebrated individual liberty that is supposedly ensured by the neutral or impartial norms of liberal constitutions leads to a surprisingly homogeneous and limited set of realized possibilities with regard to conceptions of the good, possible careers, educational options, personality structures, consumption choices, leisure activities, and family structure, among others. “Liberal freedom” ironically turns out to go hand in hand with “capitalist necessity.” This reality is occluded by the usual state-centric focus of the “right versus good” debate in mainstream political philosophy." (p.XXVIII)

    "The aim is also to disclose a more positive perspective on the possibilities of a good or successful life in such societies." (p.XXXI)
    -Jonathan Trejo-Mathys, Introduction à Hartmut Rosa, Social Acceleration: A New Theory of Modernity, Columbia University Press, 2013, 513 pages.

    -Hartmut Rosa, Social Acceleration: A New Theory of Modernity, Columbia University Press, 2013, 513 pages.

    « La question n’est pas de constater que les gens vivent plus ou moins pauvrement, mais toujours d’une manière qui leur échappe. » -Guy Debord, Critique de la séparation (1961).

    « Rien de grand ne s’est jamais accompli dans le monde sans passion. » -Hegel, La Raison dans l'Histoire.

    « Mais parfois le plus clair regard aime aussi l’ombre. » -Friedrich Hölderlin, "Pain et Vin".

      La date/heure actuelle est Dim 25 Fév - 8:12