Dmitry Kataev 1
  • 1 Lipetsk State Pedagogical Semenov-Tyan-Shansky University, Lenina str., 42/2, Lipetsk, Russian Federation 398020

New Critical Theory or Analytical Empiricism?

2020, vol. 19, No. 3, pp. 426–449 [issue contents]
“If acceleration is a problem in modern society, then resonance is perhaps the solution” is the key thesis of Hartmut Rosa’s Sociology of Relationship to the World, or “the sociology of the ‘good life’”, which has become one of the brightest and most controversial critical theories at the beginning of this century. The content, the reception, the criticism of the concept of resonance, and the resulting discussions which became the reason for the renewal of the “methodological positivism dispute” in German sociology are the subjects of this article. The first part of the article is devoted to the consideration of the concept of resonance as a theoretical tool for the new critical sociology, an alternative to the resource-based approach prevailing in mainstream sociology which is unable to measure the quality of human life and the subject-world relationship. In conjunction with other works of the author, the paper analyzes the main idea of Rosa, that is, the creation of an updated critical theory of resonant relations. In doing so, Rosa thematizes the dialectics between the normative and descriptive content of resonance and alienation as integral elements of modern lifeforms and the human condition, the dichotomy of the “good life” and the “bad life”, and the differentiation of the horizontal, diagonal, and vertical “axes of resonance” and their role in building of “relationships to the world”. The second part highlights the main areas of the critical “sociology of relationship to the world” and the concept of resonance. Particular attention will be paid to the “methodological dispute”, since it is precisely this debate that is associated with another project of the “big theory” of the early 21st century, that of the “integrative sociology” of H. Esser, an updated theory of rational choice that was transformed into an analytical-empirical sociology as opposed to the new critical theory by Rosa. Finally, in the conclusion, an attempt is made to determine the place of both alternatives from the point of view of the Weberian-studies tradition, since both polemists explicitly or indirectly refer to the classic. The question of whether Rosa’s concept of resonance is a new sociological paradigm or whether it is a sociological theology remains open.
Citation: Kataev D. (2020) Novaya kriticheskaya teoriya ili analiticheskiy empirizm? [New Critical Theory or Analytical Empiricism?]. The Russian Sociological Review, vol. 19, no 3, pp. 426-449 (in Russian)
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