In fact its history is long and its connections plentiful, reaching beyond the boundaries of sociology itself. Yet it is in sociology that the hermeneutic tradition has attracted most interest but most misinterpretation. The debate is in full swing and there is no attempt to offer "correct" solutions - the emphasis instead is upon revealing the strengths and weaknesses of each of the main approaches. However it is Bauman's view that the theory of understanding may achieve valid results only if it treats the problem of understanding as an aspect of the ongoing process of social life.
The test they need to pass in order to acquire the social prizes they covet requires them to recast themselves as products capable of drawing attention to themselves. This subtle and pervasive transformation of consumers into commodities is the most important feature of the society of consumers. It is the hidden truth, the deepest and most closely guarded secret, of the consumer society in which we now live.
In this new book Zygmunt Bauman examines the impact of consumerist attitudes and patterns of conduct on various apparently unconnected aspects of social life politics and democracy, social divisions and stratification, communities and partnerships, identity building, the production and use of knowledge, and value preferences.
The invasion and colonization of the web of human relations by the worldviews and behavioural patterns inspired and shaped by commodity markets, and the sources of resentment, dissent and occasional resistance to the occupying forces, are the central themes of this brilliant new book by one of the worlds most original and insightful social thinkers.