Cosmopolitan perspective in the work of Zygmunt Bauman Cover Image

Cosmopolitan perspective in the work of Zygmunt Bauman
Cosmopolitan perspective in the work of Zygmunt Bauman

Author(s): Valida Repovac Nikšić, Amila Ždralović
Subject(s): Social Philosophy, Structuralism and Post-Structuralism, Social development, Social Theory
Published by: Naučno udruženje Sociološki diskurs
Keywords: contemporary sociology; identity; new cosmopolitanism; cosmopolitan condition; dialogue;

Summary/Abstract: The theoretical legacy of Zygmunt Bauman is an inexhaustible source of inspiration for sociological analysis, particularly bearing in mind the scope of his work and the diverse range of modern day problems that this British-Polish author dealt with. The first part of this article examines the question of personal identity in liquid modernity, which is the starting point of Bauman’s work. Similar to some other authors, Bauman discusses the paradox of the individual who is not free in an individualized society. Bauman’s diagnosis carries pessimistic features which in some places correspond to insights developed in classical sociology. Bauman makes occasional and sporadic incursions into the pitfalls of conservative thought, particularly in relation to the dichotomies of individual versus community, individualism versus togetherness, and egoism versus solidarity. However, it seems that the author manages to skilfully avoid the inherent theoretical traps of sociology, turning towards cosmopolitan theory. The second part of this article presents the thesis that Bauman’s thought is in fact cosmopolitan, especially bearing in mind his final public appearances and writings. This argument is based in his description of global society that is simultaneously integrating and developing, and dramatically disintegrating and regressing. Bauman writes about violent killings and expulsions of people in the 21st century and their inability to find refuge in the Western and democratic world that promotes human rights. Recalling the crucial cosmopolitan principles of solidarity and hospitality, Bauman makes an appeal to progressive forces to consolidate and work on opening and reaffirming the “cosmopolitan condition” of contemporary society.

  • Issue Year: 7/2017
  • Issue No: 13-14
  • Page Range: 5-27
  • Page Count: 23
  • Language: English