The test they need to pass in order to acquire the social prizesthey covet requires them to recast themselves as products capableof drawing attention to themselves. This subtle and pervasivetransformation of consumers into commodities is the most importantfeature of the society of consumers. It is the hidden truth, thedeepest and most closely guarded secret, of the consumer society inwhich we now live.
In this new book Zygmunt Bauman examines the impact ofconsumerist attitudes and patterns of conduct on various apparentlyunconnected aspects of social life politics and democracy, socialdivisions and stratification, communities and partnerships,identity building, the production and use of knowledge, and valuepreferences.
The invasion and colonization of the web of human relations bythe worldviews and behavioural patterns inspired and shaped bycommodity markets, and the sources of resentment, dissent andoccasional resistance to the occupying forces, are the centralthemes of this brilliant new book by one of the worlds mostoriginal and insightful social thinkers.
The distinctive kind of moral blindness that characterizes oursocieties is brilliantly analysed by Zygmunt Bauman and LeonidasDonskis through the concept of adiaphora: the placing of certainacts or categories of human beings outside of the universe of moralobligations and evaluations. Adiaphora implies an attitude ofindifference to what is happening in the world – a moralnumbness. In a life where rhythms are dictated by ratingswars and box-office returns, where people are preoccupied with thelatest gadgets and forms of gossip, in our ‘hurriedlife’ where attention rarely has time to settle on any issueof importance, we are at serious risk of losing our sensitivity tothe plight of the other. Only celebrities or media stars can expectto be noticed in a society stuffed with sensational, valuelessinformation.This probing inquiry into the fate of our moral sensibilities willbe of great interest to anyone concerned with the most profoundchanges that are silently shaping the lives of everyone in ourcontemporary liquid-modern world.
This book is dedicated to this task. Bauman selects five of thebasic concepts which have served to make sense of shared human life- emancipation, individuality, time/space, work and community - andtraces their successive incarnations and changes of meaning.
Liquid Modernity concludes the analysis undertaken inBauman's two previous books Globalization: The HumanConsequences and In Search of Politics. Together thesevolumes form a brilliant analysis of the changing conditions ofsocial and political life by one of the most original thinkerswriting today.