Social Acceleration: A New Theory of Modernity

Paperback | June 9, 2015

byHartmut RosaTranslated byJonathan Trejo-Mathys

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Hartmut Rosa advances an account of the temporal structure of society from the perspective of critical theory. He identifies three categories of change in the tempo of modern social life: technological acceleration, evident in transportation, communication, and production; the acceleration of social change, reflected in cultural knowledge, social institutions, and personal relationships; and acceleration in the pace of life, which happens despite the expectation that technological change should increase an individual's free time.

According to Rosa, both the structural and cultural aspects of our institutions and practices are marked by the "shrinking of the present," a decreasing time period during which expectations based on past experience reliably match the future. When this phenomenon combines with technological acceleration and the increasing pace of life, time seems to flow ever faster, making our relationships to each other and the world fluid and problematic. It is as if we are standing on "slipping slopes," a steep social terrain that is itself in motion and in turn demands faster lives and technology. As Rosa deftly shows, this self-reinforcing feedback loop fundamentally determines the character of modern life.

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Hartmut Rosa advances an account of the temporal structure of society from the perspective of critical theory. He identifies three categories of change in the tempo of modern social life: technological acceleration, evident in transportation, communication, and production; the acceleration of social change, reflected in cultural knowl...

Hartmut Rosa is professor of sociology and political science at the Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena. He is the author of Alienation and Acceleration: Towards a Critical Theory of Late-Modern Temporality and coeditor, with William E. Scheuerman, High-Speed Society: Social Acceleration, Power, and Modernity.Jonathan Trejo-Mathys (19...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:512 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.68 inPublished:June 9, 2015Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231148356

ISBN - 13:9780231148351

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Table of Contents

Translator's IntroductionIn Place of a PrefaceIntroductionPart 1. The Categorial Framework of a Systematic Theory of Social Acceleration1. From the Love of Movement to the Law of Acceleration: Observations of Modernity2. What Is Social Acceleration?Part 2. Mechanisms and Manifestations: A Phenomenology of Social Acceleration3. Technical Acceleration and the Revolutionizing of the Space-Time Regime4. Slipping Slopes: The Acceleration of Social Change and the Increase of Contingency5. The Acceleration of the "Pace of Life" and Paradoxes in the Experience of TimePart 3. Causes6. The Speeding Up of Society as a Self-Propelling Process: The Circle of Acceleration7. Acceleration and Growth: External Drivers of Social Acceleration8. PowerPart 4. Consequences9. Acceleration10. Situational Identity: Of Drifters and Players11. Situational Politics: Paradoxical Time Horizons Between Desynchronization and Disintegration12. Acceleration and Rigidity: Attempt at a Redefinition of ModernityConclusion: Frenetic Standstill? The End of HistoryBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

When I first picked up this book, I was looking forward to a leisurely reading on obscurantist Heideggerian bullshit. I was wrong. But once I got over my deep disappointment that the book was, in fact, intelligible and not littered with ramblings about Dasein, I began to appreciate the book for what it was.