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Zygmunt Bauman’s ’liquid sociology’ confronts the awesome task of reminding individual men and women that an alternative way of living together is within our eminent capabilities, if only we start to think differently about our world. The metaphor of ’liquidity’, which has become such a prominent feature of his writings since 2000, provides us with just such a new interpretation, with a novel ’way of seeing’. Each chapter in this unique collection takes seriously Bauman’s analysis of modernity as ’liquid’, throwing new light upon global social problems, as well as opening up a space for assessing the nature of Bauman’s contribution to sociology, and for understanding what may be gained and lost by embracing an artistic sensibility within the social sciences. With contributions from internationally renowned scholars, this book will appeal to all those interested in Bauman’s work, especially within sociology, social, political and cultural theory, and to anyone curious about the value of metaphor in interpreting the social world.
In this new book, Bauman examines how we have moved away from a 'heavy' and 'solid', hardware-focused modernity to a 'light' and 'liquid', software-based modernity. This passage, he argues, has brought profound change to all aspects of the human condition. The new remoteness and un-reachability of global systemic structure coupled with the unstructured and under-defined, fluid state of the immediate setting of life-politics and human togetherness, call for the rethinking of the concepts and cognitive frames used to narrate human individual experience and their joint history. This book is dedicated to this task. Bauman selects five of the basic concepts which have served to make sense of shared human life - emancipation, individuality, time/space, work and community - and traces their successive incarnations and changes of meaning. Liquid Modernity concludes the analysis undertaken in Bauman's two previous books Globalization: The Human Consequences and In Search of Politics. Together these volumes form a brilliant analysis of the changing conditions of social and political life by one of the most original thinkers writing today.
‘Today the smallest details of our daily lives are tracked and traced more closely than ever before, and those who are monitored often cooperate willingly with the monitors. From London and New York to New Delhi, Shanghai and Rio de Janeiro, video cameras are a familiar and accepted sight in public places. Air travel now commonly involves devices such as body-scanners and biometric checks that have proliferated in the wake of 9/11. And every day Google and credit-card issuers note the details of our habits, concerns and preferences, quietly prompting customized marketing strategies with our active, all too often zealous cooperation. In today’s liquid modern world, the paths of daily life are mobile and flexible. Crossing national borders is a commonplace activity and immersion in social media increasingly ubiquitous. Today’s citizens, workers, consumers and travellers are always on the move but often lacking certainty and lasting bonds. But in this world where spaces may not be fixed and time is boundless, our perpetual motion does not go unnoticed. Surveillance spreads in hitherto unimaginable ways, responding to and reproducing the slippery nature of modern life, seeping into areas where it once had only marginal sway. In this book the surveillance analysis of David Lyon meets the liquid modern world so insightfully dissected by Zygmunt Bauman. Is a dismal future of moment-by-moment monitoring closing in, or are there still spaces of freedom and hope? How do we realize our responsibility for the human beings before us, often lost in discussions of data and categorization? Dealing with questions of power, technology and morality, this book is a brilliant analysis of what it means to be watched – and watching – today.
This timely book provides the definitive concise introduction to the phenomenon of Zygmunt Bauman. After introducing the man, his major influences and his special way of 'thinking sociologically', author Blackshaw traces the development of Bauman's project by identifying and explaining the major shifts of emphasis in his work – the break with Marxism and the postmodern 'turn', and the subsequent refocusing on 'liquid' modernity – as well as offering a clear and accessible guide to the key conceptual hinges which move the reader on. This book, the only concise introduction to Bauman's work on the market, goes on to explain the importance of the full range of persistent themes concerning Bauman, dealing specifically with individualization, freedom, identity, community, social control, consumption and waste, building a penetrating understanding of why these issues matter for this Key Sociologist. Bauman's ideas have impacted beyond sociology into criminology, political theory, cultural studies, leisure studies and so forth, and have also now penetrated outside the walls of the academy into social policy, welfare reform, social work and politics. Making use of pedagogical features such as boxed sections, chapter summaries, an annotated bibliography and links to further reading, this well-written text assumes no prior familiarity with Bauman's work and will appeal to anyone in any of these fields wishing to get acquainted with the ideas of one of the world's most wide-ranging thinkers.
This text covers Bauman’s contribution to sociology and social theory. This ideal teaching text analyzes Bauman's shift from a sociology of postmodernity to liquid modernity, and provides a critical assessment of the contemporary Bauman, appraising his novel theory of liquid modernity in terms of its implications for self-identity, interpersonal relationships, culture, communications, and the broad-ranging institutional transformations associated with globalization. In addition to various extracts from Bauman's work, the book also contains a spirited reply from Zygmunt Bauman to both his sympathetic and unsympathetic critics. Bauman concludes by providing a new perspectives on his theory of liquid modernity, its differentiation from the modernity/postmodernity debate and its relation to current developments in contemporary social theory.
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