Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Meaning of Bauman's liquid modernity explained

Zygmunt Bauman coined the term of liquid modernity to denote current times, based on the concepts of fluidity, change, flexibility, adaptation, among others. Bauman affirms that the "liquid" is a ruling metaphor of the modern age, since it undergoes continuous and irrecoverable changes. Likewise, the liquid is not fixed in space or tied to time, it moves easily, it cannot be stopped easily; and all these are at the same time fundamental characteristics of the current daily routines.

In the past, we were in a predictable and controllable world, a solid one. The routine, the short-term vision, the customs, the communities were some of its characteristics. All this panorama began to “melt”, changing that society that was stagnant and was too resistant to changes, for a liquid and malleable one. Bauman, exposes 5 items in which he develops the concept of liquid modernity: emancipation, individuality, space-time, work and community. 

According to Bauman, with the arrival of modernity, everything became individualized. Being modern meant being eternally one step ahead of yourself; that is, we had to transform ourselves into what each one is. As Jean Paul Sartre said : "It is not enough to be born a bourgeois, you have to live life as a bourgeois." Modernity changed the rules. The critical theory that defended individualism before the State that at that time oppressed everything, now the opposite happens. Today we seek to recover the public, since the individual has encompassed all strata. We live in a society of individuals because "everything has been individualized." Such a large system has been formed that now each individual is guilty of his destiny, of what happens to him or not.

Although Bauman is considered a "postmodern" thinker, he does not fit the term " postmodernist ", since he uses the concepts " solid modernity " and " liquid modernity " to characterize what he considers two sides of the same coin.