The absence of society

Zygmunt Bauman

in Contemporary social evils

Published by Policy Press

Published in print June 2009 | ISBN: 9781847424099
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447301981 | DOI:
The absence of society

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This chapter reports the most disturbing aspect of contemporary social problems. They stem from an absence or withdrawal of society, rather than its pressures. Concern with the way the world is managed is giving way to an individualistic concern with self-management and self-promotion. The ‘social state’ that recognised people's dependence on each other and provided collective insurance against misfortune has been supplanted by a doctrine of individualism stoked by heavily marketed dreams of wealth and celebrity. This society has come to meet all the conditions for widespread cognitive dissonance and resentment. The meaning of failure in a society of consumers is discussed. It is stated that the list of conspicuous and worrying manifestations of ‘social ills’ produced by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation's consultation has its roots in the sociocultural and political transformations of the last few decades.

Keywords: contemporary social problems; society; social state; individualism; consumers; Joseph Rowntree Foundation

Chapter.  4354 words. 

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