Author(s): Zygmunt Bauman
Today we hear much talk of crisis and comparisons are often made with the Great Depression of the 1930s, but there is a crucial difference that sets our current malaise apart from the 1930s: today we no longer trust in the capacity of the state to resolve the crisis and to chart a new way forward. In our increasingly globalized world, states have been stripped of much of their power to shape the course of events. Many of our problems are globally produced but the volume of power at the disposal of individual nation-states is simply not sufficient to cope with the problems they face. This divorce between power and politics produces a new kind of paralysis. It undermines the political agency that is needed to tackle the crisis and it saps citizens' belief that governments can deliver on their promises. The impotence of governments goes hand in hand with the growing cynicism and distrust of citizens. Hence the current crisis is at once a crisis of agency, a crisis of representative democracy and a crisis of the sovereignty of the state.
In this book the world-renowned sociologist Zygmunt Bauman and fellow traveller Carlo Bordoni explore the social and political dimensions of the current crisis. While this crisis has been greatly exacerbated by the turmoil following the financial crisis of 2007-8, Bauman and Bordoni argue that the crisis facing Western societies is rooted in a much more profound series of transformations that stretch back further in time and are producing long-lasting effects. This highly original analysis of our current predicament by two of the world's leading social thinkers will be of interest to a wide readership.
ZYGMUNT BAUMAN is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of Leeds, UK. His many books have become international bestsellers and have been translated into more than thirty languages. CARLO BORDONI is a scholar, essayist and journalist, specialising in the sociology of culture. He has taught sociology at the Universities of Pisa and Florence, the Oriental Institute in Naples and at the academy of fine arts in Carrarra.
Preface 1. CRISIS OF THE STATE 1a. A definition of crisis 1b. A statism without a State 1c. State and nation 1d. Hobbes and the Leviathan 2. MODERNITY IN CRISIS 2a. The promises withdrawn 2b. Leaving modernity 2c. Through postmodernity 2d. Deconstruction and denial 2e. The end of history? 3. DEMOCRACY IN CRISIS 3a. Ethics of progress and democracy 3b. An excess of democracy? 3c. Postdemocracy 3d. For a new global order