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Anton Röhr

The ritual as a space of serenity - resonance in the dialectics of identity and non-identity

Successful - i.e. resonant - world relations exist only as "communication of the distinct" (Adorno/Guzzoni), i.e. as communication with the different, indeterminate, unavailable, special, changeable, in short with the non-identical with whom we "do something together". This thesis, and with it the analogy of communication and being in the world, is in a sense the speculative starting point of my dissertation project, which is initially understood as an attempt to philosophically deepen the concept of resonance (Rosa 2016).

As a "successful communication of the distinct", the resonance event is always located in a fragile field of tension between the self- and world-transformation that creates identity and knowledge on the one hand, and a misunderstanding that is always already present in recognition and calls for further questioning on the distinct. My work attempts to demonstrate this field of tension as a dialectic of identity and non-identity, thus opening up the theory of resonance for an understanding of ritual as a space of mediation between subjectivity and alterity.

For it is precisely rituals that take up the problem of the fragility of successful world relations, i.e. those oscillating between identity and non-identity, and create axes of resonance by forming, as it were, a stabilizing "framework" for the relationship or communication events. In addition to this power of mediation rituals have a tendency of nostrification, which always carries the potential of a totalitarian excess. There, however, it is no longer a matter of mediation, but rather of the complete instrumentalizing identification and making available of the Other and thus ultimately of his or her extinction.

By integrating the dialectic of identity and non-identity into its description of world relations, resonance theory becomes capable of criticizing such (ideological) excesses of identity. To this end, my dissertation outlines a formal "ideal definition" of the ritual as a "space of serenity" in which resonant world transformation is possible as a successful communication movement with the other (in us and outside us) as an "astonishing distinct". Accordingly, "calmness" does not mean disinterest, or indifference, but a kind of attitude towards the world or communication that gives space, lets itself in, allows itself to be and thus acknowledges the respective other in its. My work is an attempt to create a unifying perspective: The field of tension between identity and non-identity that arises between subjectivity and alterity could serve as a central criterion for the "cultural-comparative analysis of world relations", with the help of which religious and non-religious, individual and collective social practices (or their influence on the world relations of the participating subjects) from the most diverse cultures and epochs can be compared with one another on a descriptive level and critically questioned on a normative level - in the sense of a critique of the resonance relations.

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