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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.
The passage from ‘solid’ to ‘liquid’ modernity has created a new and unprecedented setting for individual life pursuits, confronting individuals with a series of challenges never before encountered. Social forms and institutions no longer have enough time to solidify and cannot serve as frames of reference for human actions and long-term life plans, so individuals have to find other ways to organise their lives. They have to splice together an unending series of short-term projects and episodes that don’t add up to the kind of sequence to which concepts like ‘career’ and ‘progress’ could meaningfully be applied. Such fragmented lives require individuals to be flexible and adaptable – to be constantly ready and willing to change tactics at short notice, to abandon commitments and loyalties without regret and to pursue opportunities according to their current availability. In liquid modernity the individual must act, plan actions and calculate the likely gains and losses of acting (or failing to act) under conditions of endemic uncertainty. Zygmunt Bauman’s brilliant writings on liquid modernity have altered the way we think about the contemporary world. In this short book he explores the sources of the endemic uncertainty which shapes our lives today and, in so doing, he provides the reader with a brief and accessible introduction to his highly original account, developed at greater length in his previous books, of life in our liquid modern times.
Modernity was supposed to be the period in human history when the fears that pervaded social life in the past could be left behind and human beings could at last take control of their lives and tame the uncontrolled forces of the social and natural worlds. And yet, at the dawn of the twenty-first century, we live again in a time of fear. Whether its the fear of natural disasters, the fear of environmental catastrophes or the fear of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, we live today in a state of constant anxiety about the dangers that could strike unannounced and at any moment. Fear is the name we give to our uncertainty in the face of the dangers that characterize our liquid modern age, to our ignorance of what the threat is and our incapacity to determine what can and can't be done to counter it. This new book by Zygmunt Bauman one of the foremost social thinkers of our time is an inventory of liquid modern fears. It is also an attempt to uncover their common sources, to analyse the obstacles that pile up on the road to their discovery and to examine the ways of putting them out of action or rendering them harmless. Through his brilliant account of the fears and anxieties that weigh on us today, Bauman alerts us to the scale of the task which we shall have to confront through most of the current century if we wish our fellow humans to emerge at its end feeling more secure and self-confident than we feel at its beginning.
This is the first single-authored critical engagement with the major works of Zygmunt Bauman. Where previous books on Bauman have been exegetical, here an unwavering light is shone on key themes in the sociologist's work, exposing serious weaknesses in Bauman's interpretations of the Holocaust, Western modernity, consumerism, globalisation and the nature of sociology. The book shows how Eurocentrism, the neglect of issues of gender and a lack of awareness of the racism faced by Europe's non-white ethnic minorities seriously limit Bauman's analyses of Western societies. At the same time, it points to Bauman's repeated insistence on the need for sociologists to take a moral stance in favour of the world's poor and downtrodden as being his most valuable legacy. The book will be of great interest to sociologists. Its readability will be valued by undergraduates and postgraduates and it will attract a readership well beyond the discipline.
In this provocative new book, Tony Blackshaw argues that Leisure Studies is in a quiet but deep state of crisis. The twenty-first century has brought profound change to all aspects of society, including a plurality of new leisure worlds, and traditional concepts of Leisure Studies fail to capture this richness. This book aims to re-invigorate Leisure Studies by revealing and unpacking these leisure worlds, thereby changing the way we think about leisure and the way we do Leisure Studies. Both trivial and serious in its implications, it is precisely this paradox that makes leisure such a fascinating subject of study. Re-Imagining Leisure Studies presents a new and radical set of methodological rules for studying leisure trends and cultures in contemporary society. It discusses the critical issues that underpin recent developments in leisure theory and explores the key themes of social class, community, politics, freedom and globalization. Marking a turning point in the reception and understanding of Leisure Studies, this book is vital reading for all students and scholars with a social scientific interest in leisure.

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