Regulating Speed: Social Acceleration and International Law

Wouter G. Werner*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

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This chapter examines some consequences of social acceleration, the ‘speeding up of time’, for international law. The first part of the chapter outlines some leading theories on social acceleration, in particular the theory developed by Hermut Rosa. According to Rosa, social acceleration is to be understood as a self-propelling process which ties together three spheres: technology, social structures, and the pace of life. Moreover, as the chapter makes clear, social acceleration is not taking place evenly across societal sectors. Some sectors change at an increasing speed (e.g. communication or the economy), with other sectors lagging behind (e.g. ecological systems). The second part studies some of the impacts of social acceleration on international law. Using the UN global counterterrorism regime as an illustration, the chapter sets out how the enhancement of speed has led to new forms of law, which seek to combine accelerated decision-making with an increased capacity to adapt to rapidly changing situations (stasis and change).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResearch Handbook on the Sociology of International Law
EditorsMoshe Hirsch, Andrew Lang
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing Ltd.
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781783474493
ISBN (Print)9781783474486
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Publication series

NameResearch Handbooks in International Law series
PublisherEdward Elgar


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