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Liquid Times: Living in an Age of Uncertainty

Liquid Times: Living in an Age of Uncertainty

Zygmunt Bauman

ISBN: 978-0-745-63986-4 December 2006 Polity 128 Pages


In Stock

CAD $70.99


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.

Introduction: Bravely into the Hotbed of Uncertainties 1

1 Liquid Modern Life and its Fears 5

2 Humanity on the Move 27

3 State, Democracy and the Management of Fears 55

4 Out of Touch Together 71

5 Utopia in the Age of Uncertainty 94

Notes 111

"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,

  • This is a short and very accessible introduction to the thought of Zygmunt Bauman, written by Bauman himself

  • Perfect for undergraduate students and readers coming to Bauman’s work for the first time

  • The book is Bauman’s own attempt to provide an overview and summary of the themes he has developed throughout his career as an outstanding and original social theorist

  • As with all Bauman books it is likely to be adopted on social, cultural and political theory modules and attract a cult readership