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A Sociology of Our Relationship to the World
The pace of modern life is undoubtedly speeding up, yet this acceleration does not seem to have made us any happier or more content. If acceleration is the problem, then the solution, argues Hartmut Rosa in this major new work, lies in "resonance." The quality of a human life cannot be measured simply in terms of resources, options, and moments of happiness; instead, we must consider our relationship to, or resonance with, the world.
Applying his theory of resonance to many domains of human activity, Rosa describes the full spectrum of ways in which we establish our relationship to the world, from the act of breathing to the adoption of culturally distinct worldviews. He then turns to the realms of concrete experience and action - family and politics, work and sports, religion and art - in which we as late modern subjects seek out resonance. This task is proving ever more difficult as modernity's logic of escalation is both cause and consequence of a distorted relationship to the world, at individual and collective levels. As Rosa shows, all the great crises of modern society - the environmental crisis, the crisis of democracy, the psychological crisis - can also be understood and analyzed in terms of resonance and our broken relationship to the world around us.
Building on his now classic work on acceleration, Rosa's new book is a major new contribution to the theory of modernity, showing how our problematic relation to the world is at the crux of some of the most pressing issues we face today. This bold renewal of critical theory for our times will be of great interest to students and scholars across the social sciences and humanities.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
"If in the rush to increase production and wealth, we ever pause to consider what a good life would be like, and whether we're missing something essential, Rosa's book Resonance would be a good place to start. This remarkable work combines systematic theory with a host of valuable insights into human fulfillments that we too easily forgo."
Charles Taylor, McGill University
"Affirmation of ordinary life is a key feature of modernity, but alienation from the world is a persistent experience of modern men and women. In Resonance, Rosa offers sketches of an alternative relation to the world and thereby a foundation for a sociology of the good life. A very important text and highly recommended."
Miroslav Volf, Yale University
"Hartmut Rosa is one of the leading and most distinctive voices in contemporary social theory. In Resonance he continues the important analysis of the very nature of modernity laid out in Social Acceleration, and offers a new approach to basic human relationships, both to other people and to the world. This is a truly important book."
Craig Calhoun, Arizona State University