The Challenge of Loss, lecture by Andreas Reckwitz
We are happy to welcome Andreas Reckwitz, Professor at the Institute of Social Sciences at Humboldt University Berlin, to Uppsala University.
In contemporary Western societies, experiences of loss are widespread: From climate change to postindustrial downward mobility, from democratic regressions to the articulation of historic wounds by groups of victims, from psychological treatment of grief up to the consequences of aging societies.
In his lecture, Andreas Reckwitz argues that behind these phenomena there is a more profound predicament to be found: Right from the beginning Western modernity is based on contradiction between the promise of progress, which moulds this future-oriented society, and the experiences of loss. Losses are ’the flipside of modernity’ and object of a paradox: On the one hand modern society tries to reduce them, on the other hand they are systematically increased via modernization, complex systems, capitalism and state violence.
On the one hand, modern society tries to make losses invisible, on the other hand they are objects of speczialized treatment, in practices of doing loss: from nostalgia to psychotherapy, from risk to a politics of victims. In late modern society, though, this precarious balance between progress and loss could break down. What are the causes and the consequences?
Date: 14 May, 17:15–19:00
Location: Humanistiska teatern, Engelska Parken
Registration opens at the beginning of April.
Making Sense of Our Time
This is the fourth lecture in The Uppsala Lectures on Making Sense of Our Time - a cross-disciplinary lecture series in Humanistiska teatern. During 2022-23, the lecture series takes on our bewildering times by engaging with a cross-disciplinary selection of brilliant contemporary scholarly thinking within the humanities and social sciences. The first lecture was held by Professor and author Lea Ypi and the second lecture was held by Professor Larry Bartels. In December 2023, we held our third lecture by Professor Glenda Sluga.
The aim of the cross-disciplinary lecture series of open lectures is to provide a recurrent place for faculty and graduate students to listen to and engage with top level international academics from across the humanities and social sciences as they address our perplexing times and how they can be understood – philosophically, historically, and politically. An adjunct aim is to provide an additional opportunity for junior scholars and PhD students to engage with the incoming guests.
Ghosts from the past haunt our way of thinking about society, culture, and politics. Optimism of the future has rapidly turned not only to skepticism, but to deep concern about the validity of the very foundations of modern political life: democracy, enlightened rationality, sovereign nations and autonomous subjects. The world order founded after 1989 was not the end of history but carried within it a myriad of both bright and dark futures. Structures of economy and society thought solid have turned out to be volatile and dynamic. Behind unprecedented growth rates and living standards lay, as historian Helen Thompson has recently put it, disorder on national and global scales.
The lecture series is organized by Professor Jenny Andersson, Department of the History of Science and Ideas and Professor Sofia Näsström, Department of Government in collaboration with the Center for Integrated Research on Culture and Society (CIRCUS).
Professor Andreas Reckwitz
Andreas Reckwitz is a professor at the Institute of Social Sciences at Humboldt University Berlin. He is a prominent proponent of social practice theory and contributed to its development as an encompassing social and cultural theory. This serves as basis for his works on subjectivation, creativity and singularization of the social life. He has written several books in the field of social theory and cultural sociology, translated into more than 20 languages. His book “The Society of Singularities. The transformation of modernity” (Suhrkamp 2017) was awarded with several book prizes and is translated into 16 languages. He is also a regular author of the German weekly paper Die Zeit. In 2019, the German Research Foundation (DFG) awarded Andreas Reckwitz the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize, the most important research award in Germany.
Books by Andreas Reckwitz
Society of Singularities
Our contemporary societies place more and more emphasis on the singular and the unique. In this book, Andreas Reckwitz examines the causes, structures and consequences of the society of singularities in which we now live.
The End of Illusions: Politics, Economy, and Culture in Late Modernity
We live in a time of great uncertainty about the future. During the last couple of decades, we’ve been battered by one crisis after another and the idea that humanity is on a progressive path to a better future seems like an illusion.
The Invention of Creativity: Modern Society and the Culture of the New
Though we may well perceive creativity as the realization of some natural and innate potential within us, it has rather to be understood within the structures of a very specific culture of the new in late modern society.