City Research Online

The Resonance of Resonance: Critical Theory as a Sociology of World-Relations?

Susen, S. ORCID: 0000-0003-0643-1891 (2020). The Resonance of Resonance: Critical Theory as a Sociology of World-Relations?. International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society, 33(3), pp. 309-344. doi: 10.1007/s10767-019-9313-6


The main purpose of this paper is to examine Hartmut Rosa’s account of “resonance.” To this end, the analysis is divided into four parts. The first part focuses on the concept of resonance, including Rosa’s differentiation between horizontal, diagonal, and vertical “axes of resonance” and their role in the construction of different “world-relations.” The second part centers on the concept of alienation, notably the degree to which it constitutes an integral element of modern life forms and, in a larger sense, of the human condition. The third part grapples with the dialectic of resonance and alienation, shedding light on the assumption that they are antithetical to each other, while contending that their in-depth study provides normative parameters to distinguish between “the good life” and “the bad life.” The final part scrutinizes Rosa’s attempt to defend his outline of a sociological theory of resonance against objections raised by his critics and comprises a point-by-point assessment of his plea for a resonance-focused sociology of world-relations. The paper concludes by suggesting that, notwithstanding its limitations, Rosa’s approach represents one of the most promising developments in twenty-first-century critical theory.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © The Author(s) 2019. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
Publisher Keywords: Alienation, Critical theory, Hartmut Rosa, Resonance, Sociology of worldrelations, World-relations
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs > Sociology & Criminology
SWORD Depositor:
[thumbnail of Susen2019_Article_TheResonanceOfResonanceCritica.pdf]
Text - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons: Attribution International Public License 4.0.

Download (641kB) | Preview


Add to AnyAdd to TwitterAdd to FacebookAdd to LinkedinAdd to PinterestAdd to Email


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics

Actions (login required)

Admin Login Admin Login