Culture in a Liquid Modern World - Zygmunt Bauman - E-Book

Culture in a Liquid Modern World E-Book

Zygmunt Bauman

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In its original formulation, 'culture' was intended to be anagent for change, a mission undertaken with the aim of educating'the people' by bringing the best of human thought andcreativity to them. But in our contemporary liquid-modern world,culture has lost its missionary role and has become a means ofseduction: it seeks no longer to enlighten the people but to seducethem. The function of culture today is not to satisfy existingneeds but to create new ones, while simultaneously ensuring thatexisting needs remain permanently unfulfilled. Culture today likensitself to a giant department store where the shelves areoverflowing with desirable goods that are changed on a daily basis- just long enough to stimulate desires whose gratification isperpetually postponed. In this new book, Zygmunt Bauman - one of the most brilliant andinfluential social thinkers of our time - retraces theperegrinations of the concept of culture and examines its fate in aworld marked by the powerful new forces of globalization, migrationand the intermingling of populations. He argues that Europe has aparticularly important role to play in revitalizing ourunderstanding of culture, precisely because Europe, with its greatdiversity of peoples, languages and histories, is the space wherethe Other is always one's neighbour and where each is constantlycalled upon to learn from everyone else.

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Culture in a Liquid Modern World

Culture in a Liquid Modern World

Zygmunt Bauman

Translated (from Polish) by Lydia Bauman

polity

in association with the National Audiovisual Institute

Copyright © Zygmunt Bauman 2011

The right of Zygmunt Bauman to be identified as Author of this Work has been asserted in accordance with the UK Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

First published in 2011 by Polity Press

Polity Press

65 Bridge Street

Cambridge CB2 1UR, UK

Polity Press

350 Main Street

Malden, MA 02148, USA

All rights reserved. Except for the quotation of short passages for the purpose of criticism and review, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the publisher.

ISBN-13: 978-0-7456-3716-7

A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.

Typeset in 11 on 14 pt Sabon

by Servis Filmsetting Ltd, Stockport, Cheshire

Printed and bound by MPG Books Group, UK

The publisher has used its best endeavours to ensure that the URLs for external websites referred to in this book are correct and active at the time of going to press. However, the publisher has no responsibility for the websites and can make no guarantee that a site will remain live or that the content is or will remain appropriate.

Every effort has been made to trace all copyright holders, but if any have been inadvertently overlooked the publisher will be pleased to include any necessary credits in any subsequent reprint or edition.

For further information on Polity, visit our website: www.politybooks.com

This book was commissioned by the National Audiovisual Institute for the European Culture Congress, 8–11 September 2011, Wrocław, Poland.

www.nina.gov.pl

www.culturecongress.eu

Contents

1

Some notes on the historical peregrinations of the concept of ‘Culture’

2

On fashion, liquid identity and utopia for today – some cultural tendencies in the twenty-first century

3

Culture from nation-building to globalization

4

Culture in a world of diasporas

5

Culture in a uniting Europe

6

Culture between state and market

Notes

1

Some notes on the historical peregrinations of the concept of ‘Culture’

On the basis of findings made in Great Britain, Chile, Hungary, Israel and Holland, a thirteen-strong team led by the highly respected Oxford sociologist John Goldthorpe concluded that a cultural elite can no longer be readily distinguished from those lower in the cultural hierarchy by the old signs: regular attendance at the opera and concerts, an enthusiasm for everything regarded as ‘high art’ at any given moment, and a habit of turning up its nose at ‘all that is common, like a pop song, or mainstream television’. Which is not at all to say that one does not still come across those who are regarded, not least by themselves, as the cultural elite, true art lovers, people better informed than their not quite so cultured peers as to what culture is about, what it consists of and what is deemed Comme il faut or comme il ne faut pas – what is suitable or not suitable – for a man or woman of culture. Except that, unlike those latter-day cultural elites, they are not ‘connoisseurs’ in the strict sense of the word, looking down on the taste of the common man, or the tastelessness of the philistine. Rather, it is more appropriate today to describe them – using the term coined by Richard A Petersen, of Vanderbilt University – as ‘omnivorous’: there is room in their repertory of cultural consumption for both opera and heavy metal or punk, for ‘high art’ and mainstream television, for Samuel Beckett and Terry Pratchett. A bite of this, a morsel of that, this today, tomorrow something else. A mixture … according to Stephen Fry, authority on modish trends and shining light of the most exclusive London society (as well as star of some of the most popular TV shows). He publicly admits:

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!