Cynthia Haven at The Book Haven:
Zygmunt Bauman, the Polish sociologist and a major public intellectual, is dead at 91 – or, as his widow put it, he has changed his place of residence “to liquid eternity.”
According to The New York Times, “The Polish-born left-wing thinker’s works explored the fluidity of identity in the modern world, the Holocaust, consumerism and globalization.” The article continued:
Renowned for an approach that incorporated philosophy and other disciplines, Bauman was a strong moral voice for the poor and dispossessed in a world upended by globalization. Whether he was writing about the Holocaust or globalization, his focus remained on how humans can create a dignified life through ethical decisions.
He wrote more than 50 books, notably “Modernity and the Holocaust,” a 1989 release in which he differed with many other thinkers who saw the barbarism of the Holocaust as a breakdown in modernity. Bauman viewed the mass exterminations of Jews as the very outcome of such pillars of modernity as industrialization and rationalized bureaucracy.
“It was the rational world of modern civilization that made the Holocaust thinkable,” Bauman wrote.
In the 1990s, Bauman coined the term “liquid modernity” to describe a contemporary world in such flux that individuals are left rootless and bereft of any predictable frames of reference.
In books including “Liquid Times” and “Liquid Modernity” he explored the frailty of human connection in such times and the insecurity that a constantly changing world creates.