Has Solidarity a Future?

Zygmunt Bauman

Has Solidarity a Future?

may sun 27, 2012 - 11.30 a.m.
piazza del Duomo
 admission euro 3.00

The term “precariat” replaced, simultaneously, the terms “proletariat” and “middle class” - both well beyond their use-by date, fully and truly “zombie terms”. What “unites” the precariat, integrating that exceedingly variegated aggregate into a cohesive category, is the condition of extreme disintegration, pulverization, atomization. Whatever their provenance or denomination, all precarians suffer – and each suffers alone, each individual suffering being well-deserved individual punishment for individually committed sins of insufficient shrewdness and deficit of industry. Individually born sufferings are all strikingly similar: whether induced by a growing pile of utility bills and college fees invoices, miserliness of wages topped up by the fragility of available jobs and inaccessibility of solid and reliable ones, fogginess of longer-term life prospects, restless spectre of redundancy and/or demotion – they all boil down to existential uncertainty: that awesome blend of ignorance and impotence, and inexhaustible source of humiliation. Such sufferings don’t add up: they divide and separate the sufferers. They deny commonality of fate. They render calls to solidarity sound ludicrous. So, has solidarity a future?

Zygmunt Bauman, is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the universities of Leeds and Warsaw, and one of the leading thinkers of our time. He has written extensively on the globalized society, on individualization processes, on shifts in our definitions of ‘public’ and ‘private’, and on the philosophical and moral impact of new capitalism. His notion of ‘liquid modernity’ has influenced international research in sociology and cultural studies. Among his recent books available in Italian are: Individualmente insieme (Diabasis, 2008); La decadenza degli intellettuali (2007) and Modernità e ambivalenza (2010) published by Bollati Boringhieri; Modernità liquida (2002), Modus vivendi (2008), Paura liquida (2008), Consumo dunque sono (2008), Capitalismo parassitario (2009), L’etica in un mondo di consumatori (2010), Vite che non possiamo permetterci (2011) were all published by Laterza; Mortalità, immortalità e altre strategie di vita (il Mulino, 2012).