Zygmunt Bauman

Who will outsmart who, and who will be kicked out first? This is the job market, and probably society at large, reduced to the level of a TV reality show, writes Bauman. However, though the spirit of solidarity is in exile, it would be premature to give up on the prospect of its return just yet.

How can contemporary social theories be used to describe our dimensions of human existence? Bauman talks in this interview about the blurred distinctions between postmodernism, late modernity and reflexive modernity and how they apply to current processes of globalisation.

Instead of meeting the state’s obligation to protect its citizens, governments throughout the West are calling for more flexibility in areas of life regulated by market forces. One consequence of the retreat of the state is a crisis of legitimacy, which states seek to regain through their response to terrorism. In the Middle East, meanwhile, a gulf has developed between an elite that has profited from Westernization and the impoverished masses. It is the latter who, in the name of religion, are lured into anti-Western extremism, thus perpetuating the vicious circle of insecurity.