Mouvement historique et histoire suspendue: Le rapport du changement social et de l'expérience de l'histoire // [Suspended history and historical movement: the relationship between social change and experience of history]

The core-argument of this paper is that there is an inherent link between the pace of social change and the human experience of history. If the pace of change is slow, the world stays essentially the same for the three generations which share a life-world. In such a world, there is no history in the singular, but only a multiplicity of historical "stories" As the pace of change picks up and reaches the rate of generational exchange, grandparents and grandchildren notice that they live in different worlds, that the past is different from the future. In such a world, where generations become the bearers of innovation, history appears to have a direction. However, in the late-modern age of the 21st century, we have reached an intra-generational pace of change: the world does not even remain the same for one generation, it changes every couple of years. By consequence, history loses its direction: the frantic pace of change appears to be contingent, fragmented and episodic. Hence, the sense of historical movement is lost and replaced by the paradoxical experience of essential inertia. As can be seen from current political events, this has farreaching consequences for the possibility and plausibility of democratic politics.