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Liquid Times: Living in an Age of Uncertainty [Paperback]

Zygmunt Bauman
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

27 Feb 2007
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.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Polity Press; 1 edition (27 Feb 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0745639879
  • ISBN-13: 978-0745639871
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 1 x 19 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 126,625 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

" Liquid Times and Living on Borrowed Times offer deep insights into post–modern life. Specifically, it exposes the essential social and philosophical changes that lie at the heart of the conditions that led to the global financial crisis ... the ideas in these books are fascinating." Satyajit Das, Willmot.com

From the Back Cover

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.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Zygmunt Bauman is one of the world's leading sociologists. He is particularly interested in how the west's increasing obsession with `individualism' actually prevents the individual from being free in any meaningful sense of the word.

In `Liquid Times (2007), Bauman argues that there are a number of negative consequences of globalisation such as the generation of surplus people who have no where to go in a world that is full; of increasingly visible inequalities as the rich and the poor come to live closer together; and of a world in which it is increasingly difficult for communities and nations to provide collective security.

According to Bauman, the ultimate cause of negative globalisation is due to the fact that the owners of Capital are invisible and shifting, having the power to invest locally without making commitments, and even to ignore international law if they deem it in their interests. The global elite are globally mobile, they are not stuck in one place, and they are free to move on if there are better investment opportunities elsewhere. The elite are seen as creating an unstable world as they move from place to place, seeking to maximise their profits. Meanwhile, the experience of `negative globabalisation' for the rest of us who are `doomed to be local' is one of increasing anxiety, fear, and suspicion, which derive from living in an unstable and unpredictable world over which we have no control, and we are compelled to develop strategies to counter the unstable, unjust, unequal and `risky' and `dangerous' world that the forever shifting elite leave in their wake.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 29 Jun 2014
By I F
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
GReat book
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent 25 Feb 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
how to look at the world from a different perspective. A truly modern concept of our society! I would highly recommend it !
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6 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars All posture and no substance 4 Feb 2013
Format:Paperback
I began this book with high expectations as it covers territory that I'm interested in from a political perspective I share. I hoped for insight and analysis but, sadly, only got bluster. This is an awful book and perhaps the most irritating I've ever read. Sentences meander endlessly in search of a point which they never find. Paragraphs billow in chapters that have no weight. Some of it sounds as if it might be trying to say something but the author spends so much time layering clauses into his writing that you can never be sure. I suspect he wasn't. I clung to the occasional quotes from other writers like a drowning man to a raft; in the context of the mush that surrounded them they shone like the beacons of clarity and rigour. It is not that the ideas are difficult but that the writing is so bad there is no way of knowing! Perhaps the kindest thing that can be said about it is that it would have benefited from a stern editor.
The author is right to insist early on that one should not expect answers from this book, but he did promise to frame a few questions and it's disappointing that he didn't even manage that. The only question that I was left with was how could such a floppy book ever have been published. Save yourself the time. Leave this one on the shelf.
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4 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Siciology is alive thanks to Baumann 11 Dec 2009
Format:Paperback
A fascinatin book accountig for the disease in society, by this I suggest the boo writtenby Freud. A must.
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