chapter  4
16 Pages

Airports built on shifting grounds?

Social acceleration and the temporal dimension of law
ByHartmut Rosa

Modern societies are characterized by a progressive transformation in their temporal fabric which can be understood as a consistent trend towards dynamization and social acceleration. This chapter discusses the role and function of law in the process of social acceleration in a systematic fashion. It briefly sketches out the logics and workings of social acceleration as a consequence of modernity's core principle: dynamic stabilization, and shows how this leads to escalatory processes of speed-up, increase and innovation. The chapter scrutinizes the argument that law can be understood as a functional and indispensable 'stabilizer', even a decelerator, in the acceleration-game. It suggests that law serves at least sometimes as a functional 'decelerator' in the process of social acceleration. The chapter also presents law as a functional prerequisite for dynamic stabilization in that it provides both the secure background conditions for socioeconomic and technological acceleration and the tools for re-synchronization between social systems, groups and processes.