Andreas Reckwitz

The Society of Singularities - On the Structural Transformation of Modernity

Andreas Reckwitz
Foto: Andreas Reckwitz
© Jürgen Bauer

Andreas Reckwitz, born in 1970, is professor of social theory and cultural sociology at Humboldt University, Berlin. His 2017 book The Society of Singularities was nominated for the Prize of the Leipzig Book Fair and awarded the Bayrischer Buchpreis. In 2018, he received a Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz-Preis. In 2019 he will be Fellow at Thomas Mann House in Los Angeles.

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English world rights (Polity), Chinese simplex rights (Social Sciences Academic Press), France (MSH), Denmark (Reitzels), Korea (Saemulgyul), Turkey (Tün Kitap)

The Explosion of the Particular

»Late modern society has become the place of the culturally singular and infrastructure of the particular.«


The particular is the clincher and the unique is prized while the general and the standardised remain, on the contrary, rather unattractive. The average person with his or her average life is suspicious. The new measure of all things is the authentic subject with original interests and a carefully crafted biography, as well as unmistakable goods and events, communities and cities. Late modernity celebrates the singular.

Beginning with this diagnosis, Andreas Reckwitz examines the process of singularization and how it is playing out at the beginning of the 21st century in economics, the world of work, network culture, lifestyles, and politics. Through a theory of modernity he shows how closely this process is intertwined with the culturalization of the social sphere, the contradictory dynamics it exhibits, and what constitutes its flip side. The society of the singular does not simply recognise glowing victors. It produces its very own injustices, paradoxes, and losers. A groundbreaking book.


»The Society of Singularities is the first to show a recognisable and convincing image of what underlies our coexistence.« Süddeutsche Zeitung

»Everywhere there are new conflicts and classes – thanks to culture! A sociologist delivers shrewd general theories of our times.« DIE ZEIT

»Those who put on these 3D-glasses for the present understand how populism and cultural capitalism are connected.« Kolja Reichert, Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung

»Reckwitz’s theory is impressive. A discussion in society as a whole is almost unavoidable.« Der Tagesspiegel

»Those wanting to understand our time should definitely read Andreas Reckwitz.« Deutschlandfunk Kultur

»[Reckwitz] has created a special book, an original access to our present age.« Literatur SPIEGEL

»Reckwitz ... renounces culturally pessimistic tones ... But you can take away this much from this smart book: more regulation in general, whether economic or social, would do the society of singularities a world of good.« Neue Zürcher Zeitung am Sonntag

»The Society of Singularities is a dedicated plea for a debate about new generally binding norms and values and an important key to a comprehensive understanding of our late modern time.« Bayerischer Rundfunk

»The Society of Singularities should be considered one of the most intensively discussed new releases of the season.« aspekte

»By recognising the power of the particular as the key to understanding the late modern, Andreas Reckwitz has managed an impressively synthetic achievement.« Deutschlandfunk Kultur

»In short: With Reckwitz’s The Society of Singularities, the decisive economic, cultural and political processes and problems of the late modern era can be taken into account.« Wirtschaftswoche

»A ground-breaking book.« Bayrische Sozialnachrichten

»This book, written in the elaborate language of scholarship, is no simple literary stroll – rather, it is a multi-stage journey. It allows us to see the transformation of our complex society from a new perspective.« Die österreichische Volkshochschule

Other publications

Das Ende der Illusionen/The End of Illusions (2019)

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English world rights (Polity), Spanish world rights (Nola), Denmark (Reitzels)

Die Erfindung der Kreativität/The Invention of Creativity (2012)

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English world rights (Polity), Denmark (Reitzels), Korea (Saemulgyul), Poland (National Centre for Culture)