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Europe: An Unfinished Adventure

Europe: An Unfinished Adventure

Zygmunt Bauman

ISBN: 978-0-745-63402-9 December 2004 Polity 152 Pages


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More than ever before, our conflict-ridden, drifting planet needs the qualities that Europe, unique among the continents, has developed in more than two millennia of history: its self-criticism, its urge to self-transcendence, exploration and experiment, its conviction that alternative and better forms of human togetherness can be achieved, as well as its dedication to the cause of seeking and promoting this improvement in practice. But today Europe is unsure of itself and its place in a fast-changing world; it is devoid of vision, limited in resources and lacking the will to pursue its vocation. It is also struggling with the consequences of a one-sided process of globalization which is divorcing power from politics, inciting the shift from the social state to security-focused governance and piling up the casualties of uncontrolled market expansion and the ethically blind commercialization of human life.

Bauman argues that despite the odds Europe still has much to offer in dealing with the great challenges that face us in the twenty-first century. Through sharing its own hard-won historical lessons, Europe can play a vital role in moving from the Hobbesian-like world in which we find ourselves today towards the kind of peaceful unification of humanity that was once envisioned by Kant.

Acknowledgements vi

1 An Adventure called 'Europe' 1

2 In the Empire's Shadow 45

3 From Social State to Security State 91

4 Towards a World Hospitable to Europe 124

Notes 143

Index 150

“This is critical thought at its best: focused, committed and sober. With its defence of European values this is a book that flies in the face of so much academic common sense, and it is all the more important for exactly that reason. This is a book with which to argue and debate. In short, this is a book with which to nurture and practice the very values of universality that can be called ‘Europe’.”
British Journal of Sociology

  • Another highly topical contribution from a world-renowned social thinker.

  • Examines the European experience against the backdrop of a fast-changing, and divided, world arguing that by sharing its historical lessons, Europe can play a role in the promotion of world peace.

  • Will provoke interest amongst students and scholars in sociology, politics and European studies, as well as interested general readers.