Does Ethics Have a Chance in a World of Consumers? (Institute for Human Sciences Vienna Lecture Series) (Hardcover) by Zygmunt Bauman (Author)
light at the end of the tunnel, June 25, 2008 By A. P. Oele (Houten Netherlands) - See all my reviews
In this book Zygmunt Bauman proves again to have a outstreched antenna for change. He also proves to be highly knowledgeable regarding the filosofical and historical aspects in his search for the ethical consequences of globalisation and consemerism. A lot of writers known for their deep insights in the human condition are quoted. It does not make for easy reading. The writer wants his conclusions to be solidly rooted in the work of present and past key experts on change. That leads to a comprehensive review of the theses on social change and makes it rewarding reading. Main conclusions are:
- globalisation is irreversible;
- consuming habits prevail and makes societal connections liquid and temporal;
- the nation state is left behind and can no longer presen a setting for ethical behavior;
- a transnational europe-like arrangement may be a model for an new framework for ethics, the more so if this ensures a social economical policy of the scandinavian type.
The last conclusion rests more on hope than on facts but is nevertheless positive enough to keep it in mind. Anyway I enjoyed meeting Bauman again in this book and recognised in him the sociologist going further than describing trends and giving warnings. Adriaan Oele. Comment Permalink [11:08 AM ]
Zygmunt Bauman is one of the most admired social thinkers of our time. Once a Marxist sociologist, he has surrendered the narrowness of both Marxism and sociology, and dares to write in language that ordinary people can understand—about problems they feel ill equipped to solve. This book is no dry treatise but is instead what Bauman calls “a report from a battlefield,” part of the struggle to find new and adequate ways of thinking about the world in which we live. Rather than searching for solutions to what are perhaps the insoluble problems of the modern world, Bauman proposes that we reframe the way we think about these problems. In an era of routine travel, where most people circulate widely, the inherited beliefs that aid our thinking about the world have become an obstacle.
Bauman seeks to liberate us from the thinking that renders us hopeless in the face of our own domineering governments and threats from unknown forces abroad. He shows us we can give up belief in a hierarchical arrangement of states and powers. He challenges members of the “knowledge class” to overcome their estrangement from the rest of society. Gracefully, provocatively, Bauman urges us to think in new ways about a newly flexible, newly challenging modern world. As Bauman notes, quoting Vaclav Havel, “hope is not a prognostication.” It is, rather, alongside courage and will, a mundane, common weapon that is too seldom used.