Intimations of Postmodernity

Intimations of Postmodernity

Zygmunt Bauman

Language: English

Pages: 264

ISBN: 0415067502

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

This thoughtful and illuminating book provides a major statement on the meaning and importance of postmodernity.

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feels most poignantly as missing, namely the universal criteria of truth, judgement and taste seemingly controlled and operated by the intellectuals. Like all reconstructions, this one tells more about the reconstructors than about the reconstructed epoch, and in this respect it is highly illuminating. The prevalence of interpretive strategy, sometimes problematized as the advent of postmodernity, signifies a most radical departure in the cultural discourse since the introduction of the concept

system as utopian or otherwise unworkable, is one between consumer freedom and unfreedom; between consumer freedom and the dictatorship over needs (Feher, Heller and Markus’s memorable phrase)—the latter practised on a limited scale towards the residue of flawed consumers inside a society organized around the commodity market, or on a global scale by a society unwilling, or incapable of providing the allurements of fully developed consumerism. SOCIOLOGY AT THE AGE OF POSTMODERNITY Constructing a

postmodernity, allows that selfcentred concerns treat lightly everything outside criticism. There is nothing to stop one from coming as close as possible to the sociological equivalent of l’art pour l’art (the cynic would comment: nothing, but the next round of education cuts). The two postmoder n strateg ies for sociology and social philosophy discussed so far are—each in its own way—internally consistent and viable. Looked at from inside, they both seem invulnerable. Given their institutional

the more it resembles moral relativism in its behavioural incarnation of callous indifference. There seems to be no easy exit from the quandary. Humanity paid too high a price for the monologic addiction of modernity not to shudder at the prospect of another bout of ordering-by-design and one more session of social engineering. It will not be easy to find the golden mean between colonizing temptations and the selfishness of tribal self-closure; none of the alternatives seems to be an attractive

like to enjoy, choice of the very needs one would like to seek, adopt and gratify. Choice has turned into a value in its own right; the supreme value, to be sure. What mattered now was that choice be allowed and made, not the things or states that are chosen. And it is precisely choice that communism, this dictatorship over needs, could not and would not ever provide—even if it could provide for the needs it itself dictated (which more often than not it spectacularly failed to do anyway). 169

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