Bringing together authors from two intellectual traditions that have, so far, generally developed independently of one another – critical theory and new materialism – this book addresses the fundamental differences and potential connections that exist between these two schools of thought. With a focus on some of the most pressing questions of contemporary philosophy and social theory – in particular those concerning the status of long-standing and contested separations between matter and life, the biological and the symbolic, passivity and agency, affectivity and rationality – it shows that recent developments in both traditions point to important convergences between them and thus prepare the ground for a more direct confrontation and cross-fertilization. The first volume to promote a dialogue between critical theory and new materialism, this collection explores the implications for contemporary debates on ecology, gender, biopolitics, post-humanism, economics, and aesthetics. As such, it will appeal to philosophers, social and political theorists and sociologists with interests in contemporary critical theory and materialism.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction: Critical Theory and New Materialisms: Fit, Strain, or Contradiction?
Hartmut Rosa, Christoph Henning and Arthur Bueno
Part 1: Nature in/of Critical Theory
2. Comprehending Society’s "Other": Nature in Critical Theory
Arne Johan Vetlesen
3. Sovereign Territory and the Domination over Nature
4. Resonance and Critical Theory
5. Responsive Encounters: Latour’s Modes of Being and the Sociology of World-Relations
Part 2: The Powers of Matter, Life, and Affect
6. Power, Affect, Society: Critical Theory and the Challenges of (Neo-)Spinozism
7. Transindividuality: The Affective Continuity of the Social in Spinoza
8. The Paradox of Capacity and the Power of Beauty
9. Life as the Subject of Society: Critical Vitalism as Critical Social Theory
10. Pathology and Vitality: On the Crisis of Modern Life-Forms
Part 3: Critique in/of New Materialism
11. Doing Justice to That Which Matters: Subjectivity and the Politics of New Materialism
12. Reading after Barad (and Blumenberg): Diffraction and Human Agency
13. Adventures in Anti-Fascist Aesthetics
14. Visiting Artists with Latour: The Materiality of Artistic Practices and the Claims of Critical Theory
15. Materialism, Energy and Acceleration: New Materialism vs. Critical Theory on the Momentum of Modernity
Hartmut Rosa is Professor of Sociology at the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena and Director of the Max-Weber-Center, Germany. He is the author of Resonance: A Sociology of the Relationship to the World, Social Acceleration: A New Theory of Modernity, and the co-editor of Lost in Perfection: Impacts of Optimisation on Culture and Psyche.
Christoph Henning is Philosophy Fellow at the Max Weber Center for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies, University of Erfurt, Germany and the author of Philosophy after Marx: 100 Years of Misreadings and the Normative Turn in Political Philosophy, and the co-editor of The Good life beyond Growth: New Perspectives and Social Capital, Social Identities: From Ownership to Belonging.
Arthur Bueno is Lecturer and Research Fellow at the University of Frankfurt and President of the Georg Simmel Gesellschaft in Bielefeld, Germany. He is the author of Economies of Life: Simmel on Money and Art and the co-editor of De-Centering Global Social Theory and Research: The Peripheral Turn in Sociology.