Zygmunt Bauman (19 November 1925 – 9 January 2017) was a Polish military officer, sociologist and philosopher.

Bauman’s published work extends to 57 books and well over a hundred articles.

Bauman was one of the world’s most eminent social theorists writing on issues as diverse as modernity and the Holocaust, postmodern consumerism and liquid modernity.

In Modernity and Ambivalence Bauman attempted to give an account of the different approaches modern society adopts toward the stranger. He argued that, on the one hand, in a consumer-oriented economy the strange and the unfamiliar is always enticing; in different styles of food, different fashions and in tourism it is possible to experience the allure of what is unfamiliar. Yet this strange-ness also has a more negative side. The stranger, because he cannot be controlled or ordered, is always the object of fear; he is the potential mugger, the person outside of society’s borders who is a constant threat.

Zygmunt Bauman argues in Liquid Love that in the consumer age, human relationships are caught between our irreconcilable needs for security and freedom. Stuart Jeffries fears he may be right .

“Certain emotions such as confidence, trust and loyalty, are underlying in social relationships, and they can explain how agency is defined by emotional energy, and not merely by material or symbolic resources such as money, knowledge and formal authority.

Happiness is a momentary condition, explosive, elu-sive, fleeting, eminently unstable… To quote from Sigmund Freud for a change (from his magnum opus Civilization and its Discontents).

What we call happiness in the strictest sense comes from  the (preferably sudden) satisfaction of needs which have been dammed up to a high degree, and it is from its nature only possible as an episodic phenomenon.

When any situation that is desired by the pleasure principle is prolonged, it only produces a feeling of mild contentment.”


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