Titel: Self-Realization and Disappointment in the ‘Society of Singularities’
Autor: Austin Harrington
This contribution focuses on Andreas Reckwitz’s considerations on phenomena of ‘exhausted self-realization’ and ‘disappointment’ in The Society of Singularities, as well as in his follow-up volume, The End of Illusions. Under discussion is the range of analytical distinctions that tend to come into play in this area between what one might call a generally primordial concept of self-realization and more derivative articulations of the concept that exhibit various aspects of instrumentalization—variously termed ‘self-maximization’ or ‘self-optimization’. The paper argues that while Reckwitz’s work offers great resources for an understanding of how and why ‘self-realization’ so frequently appears to take on an instrumentalizing character in late-modern social behaviour, the extent to which his work attributes this tendency to a wholly immanent cultural-cognitive logic of lifestyle singularization is open to criticism. The reasons must also be sought from within the more directly economic contexts of diminished material security and solidarity typical of contemporary societies shaped by neoliberal economic governance orders at the level of policy.
Titel: The Society of Singularities: Reply to Four Critics
Autor: Andreas Reckwitz
In this article, Andreas Reckwitz replies to the four critical commentaries of Patrick Baert, Andreas Pettenkofer, Austin Harrington and Sally Haslanger on his book The Society of Singularities. In this context, he discusses the general position of this book within the landscape of contemporary social theory and the question of what a ‘social logic of the unique’ means. He enters the question in how far his analysis of the new middle class differs from Pierre Bourdieu’s analysis of the new petty bourgeoisie, emphasizing the combination of an orientation towards inner experience and social prestige in his account of the new middle class. He discusses the question of whether neoliberalism is responsible for the proneness to disappointment which the late-modern culture of self-actualization implies. Finally, he works out the differences between the type of critical analytics which his book implies and normative critical theory.