Intimations of Postmodernity

Intimations of Postmodernity

Zygmunt Bauman

Language: English

Pages: 264

ISBN: 0415067502

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


This thoughtful and illuminating book provides a major statement on the meaning and importance of postmodernity.

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could not help noticing strange ways of life alongside unfamiliar shapes of shelters or unusual physiques of people they met on their way. They recorded what they saw in a similar ‘alongside’ manner; all perceived differences appeared as if on the same plane, variety of skin colors being a part of the order of things in the same way as the variety of customs and revered idols. Fashionable travelogue literature revelled in reporting genuine and fantastic findings as so many curiosities in the same

reference to the rich ideas contained in the literary legacy of Alexis de Tocqueville, and to heretofore little-known studies of Augustin Cochin (1978)) that provided an experience from which the new vision of the social world, as constituted by the learning/teaching activity, was to be extrapolated. I have described the process at length in Bauman (1987). In response to the demand potentially present in the expanding ambitions of the absolutist state, la république des lettres offered the ideal

principles of social organization and individual conduct. It expressed not only the exuberant administrative vigor of the time, but also a resounding certainty as to the direction of anticipated social change. Indeed, forms of life conceived as obstacles to change and thus condemned to destruction had been relativized; the form of life that was called to replace them was seen, however, as universal, inscribed in the essence and the destination of the human species as a whole. The original,

Ours is a disorganized society; and a disorganized capitalism. It is, in other words, capitalism, or the capitalist form of modernity, in crisis. Being in crisis means that things that society needs, it does not have; institutions and processes which served its needs do not work any more or fail to maintain the required level of output. But being in crisis also means that the needs themselves have remained by and large unchanged; it is this circumstance, above all, which renders the failure of

specific way by acting upon their bodies) and taxation (forcing people to part with their products or possessions). With such monopolies, physical violence and its threat is no longer a perpetual insecurity that it brings into the life of the individual, but a peculiar form of security…. [A] continuous, uniform pressure is exerted on individual life by the physical violence stored behind the scenes of everyday life, a pressure totally familiar and hardly perceived, conduct and drive economy

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