Sociology Essays – Beck Bauman Straw Dogs

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Of Straw Dogs and Straw Men – Contrast, comparison and measure the statements Zygmunt Bauman and Ulrich Beck make about ‘individualisation ‘ and’community ‘

I. Introduction

Lao Tse compared worlds to strawdogs ( Gray: 2004:3 ) , underscoring the insignificance of the human animate being. Such aview would come as a daze to the two writers in inquiry in this essay. BothBeck and Bauman make the error of puting adult male at the Centre of the universe, asthe exclusive self-constituting agent for his actions: in making so they replicatethe double stars of modernness that they wish to get away. In order to sham thisescape from modernism, they construct a structural homology. Just as theindustrial society disembedded adult male from his links in the Feudal system, so oursecond modernness is now disembedding us from household, gender and category basedlinks. In order for this to be convincing, both Beck and Bauman concept aseries of straw work forces that they move through in order to get at thepost-modern ( or liquid modern, or 2nd modern, depending on your pick oftheorist ) adult male. This essay ‘s cardinal contention will be that the centralarguments of Bauman and Beck sing the new signifiers of individualization andcommunity rely on a series of category errors. The primary error boththeorists make is that they confuse discourse for experience in the world’shistory: a error with a great many reverberations.

Both theoreticians talk a batch aboutsociology ‘s intent: which, harmonizing to Bauman, is to give people tools withwhich to believe ( 1993:6 ) . Both bookmans attempt to make this by turn toing thecentral concern of sociology: the relationship between society and theindividual. This concern cuts to the bosom of what sociology is concerned with: it addresses the tenseness between the one and the many. How does the 1 ( thesociologist ) speak about the many ( the object of survey ) ; what is therelationship between the one ( moving topic ) and the many ( corporate organic structure ) ; how does one get from the one ( the specific, a individual, or a civilization ) to themany ( the universal, or a larger civilization of group ) . In turn toing thesequestions, both theoreticians trace a way from the pre-modern adult male to the emergenceof post-modern adult male. This essay will first analyze the pre-modern adult male upon whichtheir strategies rest, before sing, comparison, and measuring theirarguments on the outgrowth of individualization and the current possibility ofcommunity.

II. The FirstStraw Man: Premodern Man.

The writer would be interested tomeet premodern adult male as he is constructed in the work of Bauman and Beck. Baumanargues that premodern adult male had no uncertainness in his life: his life was dictatedentirely by the broadersocietal and spiritual classsinto which he was born.Bauman asserts that the major uncertainness in premodern adult male ‘s life is theuncertainty over his ain decease. It is non merely that this word picture issimplistic and ahistorical: for such a word picture of premodern adult male contains somemajor defects of statement that imperil the possibility of the remainder of Bauman’sargument.

The first can be put merely: is itnot the instance that it is from the uncertainness of decease that we derive all otheruncertainty. What is the pressing ontological ground for action if it is non anawareness of our ain finiteness? If one were to take Dewey ‘s ‘ ( 1929:45 ) impression ofhow one manages hazard: it is exactly physical direct hazard, such as decease, thatprovokes such great demand for the myth and big societal constructions Bauman andBeck claim are at the Centre of premodern life. Bauman asserts, like Beck, thattoday we live in a hazard society. Yet, in this light the prostration of grandnarratives of societal construction onto which we can attach our individualities ( individuality in Bauman maps instead like a coat one can attach to coathangers ) seems more declarative of the absence of hazard. Here one could betempted to change by reversal the old Marxist statement. Rather than superstructuralreligion supplying the opium for infrastructural economic inequality, is it notcontentedness and material luxury that today provides a satisfaction for alack of purpose and way. What we see in premodern society, if we accept thesimplifications of Beck and Bauman, is a great trade of hazard.

To develop this statement, it iswise to look at words of Benjamin ( 1999:248 ) , who argues: The tradition of theoppressed Teachs us that the ‘state of exigency ‘ in which we live is non theexception but the regulation. The province of exigency besides refers to ( every bit good assovereignty ) , how ephemeral significances are: how clearly one can see through thediscursive order of a autonomous power to the founding force ( Agamben:1995:17 ) that lies beyond it. In every system of administration where at that place ishierarchical power there will be the uncertainness of the force ( that which, as Agamben notes, does non necessitate jurisprudence to make jurisprudence ) that lies concealed as thebasis of sovereignty. It is exactly from this sense of uncertainness that onederives hazard: the hazard of being both at the same time inside and outside ajuridical order. Here one feels the ‘state of exigency ‘ , and to cite anotherBenjamin ( 1999:86 ) essay, it is from this infirmity of being that one derivesthe possibility of myth.

Bauman would no doubt answer to thisargument that while premodern adult male had a great trade of uncertainness in his life, it could be dealt with by being placed into societal classs and so it wouldnot have the same power as the hazard that today we see as being built-in to ourown being. Yet, this assumes that for the premodern, the dearth would beattributed to the unknown, or to the Gods. Yet, if we look to Evans-Pritchard’swork on the Azande ( 1977:42 ) , we see that most catastrophes or jobs arelocated in the socially relevant beginnings. All jobs that can be are blamedon witchery: therefore, it would be evident that uncertainness is besides bound up inthe manner the Zande understand the universe, much like us secondary moderns. Therefore, already we see the simple dichotomization made by Beck and Bauman, that todayrisk is internal, while before it was a belongings of the unknown, can merely notstand up to the grounds.

There are farther jobs withBauman ‘s analysis. He often confuses two points. It is one thing to saythat premodern adult male had more solid societal constructions than our liquid modernness ; it is another to state that he did non cover with hazard and uncertainness becausethese classs were placed within societal constructions. The root of this problemis that in claiming modern adult male makes himself, Bauman forgets the great lessonof Heidegger ( 1962:148 ) , that being is a home. Because Bauman argues thatliquid modern adult male is vagabond and borderless, he is forced into change by reversaling thepolarity in premodern adult male. Yet, in doing this apposition he forgets thegreat similarity of premodern thought to liquid modern thought. Furthermore, heneglects, as the essay will develop subsequently, that being of any kind isnecessarily being in clip and infinite, which, as Heidegger, notes, is theprecondition for linguistic communication.

All three ‘men ‘ we will look atplace uncertainty and uncertainness at the same time within classs internal to himand yet constructed by the society as a whole in which he is ever already amember. The Zande who blames his neighbor for capturing the tree stump onwhich he stubbed his toe, is non so different from the adult male making out forscientific accounts of how trains go derailed, and faulting decennaries ofunder investing: both concept, from societal established classs, accounts relevant to societal action.

Finally, the fastness of categorythat Beck and Bauman assign to premodern adult male is merely non well-founded. It is onething to state that a society assigns person stiff places. It is another tosay that they do non see identarian crises over these places. Theplacing of cosmologies and societal hierarchies as designs for action in theworld ever creates mystifiers and anomalousnesss, particularly as the lived worldchanges. Furthermore, to take the foremost translator of Lacan, Laplanche, onecan see that this uncertainness about individuality is belongings of the relationshipbetween a topic and hegemony on a broader degree. As Laplanche ( 1989:130 ) notes:

[ It ] is an brush betweenan single whose psycho-somatic constructions are

situated preponderantly at thelevel of demand, and forms emanating from an

grownup. Those signifierspertain to the satisfaction of the kid ‘s demands, but they besides

convey the purelyinterrogative potency of other messagesand those other

messages are sexual. Theseenigmatic messages set the kid the hard, or even

impossible, undertaking of masteryand symbolisation and the effort to execute it

necessarily leaves behindunconscious residues. I refer to them as the sourceobjects

of the thrusts.

These statements are non as marginalto understanding how Beck and Bauman construct the modern universe as they mightappear. For if it is the instance that premodern adult male, in all his diverse signifiers, ismuch closer than we think to post-modern adult male, so many of the displacements that areposited by Beck and Bauman either must be illusive or merely displacements of degree.Further, in some of the comparings given here, the writer hopes to demo thatthe great job with both theoreticians in inquiry is that they forget theimportance of topographic point. They accept tacitly two discourses that should becritically examined. They accept that postmodern adult male is vagabond and makes hisown history, which, as the following two subdivisions show, is non the instance, and theyaccept the discourse of modernness that ascribes fastness to premodern adult male. Itshould be noted that the latter discourse was the really same discourse used tojustify the modernist political undertaking, and in visible radiation of this, it seems evenmore surprising they have accepted it so uncritically. Given these argumentshave small footing, it becomes evident that our current impressions ofindividualisation and community do non adhere to phenomenon as they appear inthe existent universe.

III. The SecondStraw Man: Modern adult male

In contrast to our premodernfriend, rooted in his absolute constructions of societal hierarchy and faith, ourmodern adult male is rooted in expansive sets of thoughts and political orientations. These are whatLyotard ( 1995:23 ) calls expansive narrations. These are those larger narrativesagainst which one can ground one ‘s being to give it tone and definition. Thesevery same narrations are those that Lyotard contends are no longer possibletoday. The modernist undertaking was a undertaking of expansive passage. Beck ( 1998:10 ) remarks that merely as modernization dissolved the constructions of feudal societyin the 19C and produced the industrial society, modernness today is dissolvingindustrial society and another modernness is coming into being. We can see theprinciple leitmotiv in both writers at work here: as feudal society is toindustrialisation, industrialization is to 2nd modernness.

The expansive narrative emerged withthe rise of the nation-state. For Bauman, individuality emerges wholly dominated bynationalism. The state province erases difference between persons throughplanned activity. Such a societal order makes authorities intercession appear asnatural ; modernness, as Bauman ( 1999:15 ) notes, being an ordered totality.Both writers here owe a batch to the work of Michel Foucault. Foucault ( 1979,1980 ) elaborates a alteration in the order of authorization, an epistemological interruption, whereby autonomous power begins to move straight on the organic structure of citizens. Ratherthan merely make up one’s minding over decease, autonomous power begins to represent what islife, and as such concepts the impression of the single and of the community.Foucault portions with Beck and Baumann the impression of modernism as orderedtotality. The jobs that emerge in Foucault ‘s work, nevertheless, are far greaterwhen brought into the work of Beck and Bauman. For while Foucault is practicingdiscursive analysis, Beck and Bauman claim to be practising sociology.

As such, there are a figure ofquestions they leave unanswered. It is non plenty to depict an orderedtotality in discourse to turn out it exists in world. If, in two hundred yearstime, sociologists were to read Bauman ( 1988:807 ) , would they be content tobelieve that: in the present twenty-four hours society, consumer behavior ( consumer freedomgeared to a consumer market ) moves steadily into a place of at the same time, the cognitive and moral focal point of life, integrative bond of society, and thefocus of systemic direction. Not merely would such an premise be untrue, itwould be an mistake of analysis. To account for the homogeneousness of discourse isnever to understand whether processs mirror the coherence of such adiscourse. To get down to understand such a inquiry, it would be necessary toanswer the undermentioned inquiries, which Foucault, Beck and Bauman fail to make

  • Given the evident outgrowth of an ‘ordered entirety ‘ , it is apparent that it could besides hold been possible that other epistemescouldhold emerged. How are we to explicate the privileged development of the episteme we call modernness?
  • What so, is the position of all the other series of discourses that constitute a society without being their paradigmatic episteme? It is non plenty to presume societies homogeneousness without looking at the massed ranks of series that are non used: that constitute the first rule for the possibility of their heterogeneousness. As a relevant modern illustration: what topographic point does the Christian bequest have in secular Europe today?
  • It may good be the instance that certain of these other, soundless, epistemes, survive mutely in patterns that are non foregrounded by a hegemonic discourse. It is merely chesty, for case, to reason that feudal system merely vanished.
  • Both Beck and Bauman besides fail to turn to the point made by Foucault inDiscipline and Punish( 1979 ) , that the patterns instigated by the dianoetic processs of modernness really displace the ordered entirety of discourse.

Through these inquiries, the authorhopes to bespeak that the impression of modern adult male that Beck and Bauman have setup is a straw adult male, against which they wish to put their new 2nd modern manwith greater declaration. Given that modernness had far greater heterogeneitythan we would wish to believe, it become evident that the impressions that Beckand Bauman claim to emerge merely make non be as all of a sudden emergent. Therefore, their undertaking needs to be wholly reconceptualised.

IV. The ThirdStraw Man: Postmodernist adult male, hypermodern adult male, liquid modern adult male, 2nd modernityman or the simulacrum.

As we have noted above, in theschemes of Bauman and Beck, modern adult male existed in ordered entirety, hisidentity deducing from the construction of the province and the political orientations attachedto the manner of production in industrialization. Obviously, something happenedrecently. For now, Bauman states, postmodern adult male has a

‘painful and disgusting experiencing ofperpetual uncertainness in everything sing the hereafter ‘ ( 1997:192 ) . Baumanasserts this is because now nil is certain any longer: all the grandnarratives have collapsed, and we have nil in which to believe. Postmodernman so, is non in a feeling of uncertainness because he is placed within asystem of capitalist extraction that increases and perpetuates a systematichierarchical inequality. He is non unsure but he is hungry, or because hefeels oppressed at work, or because his kids go to school where merely 30 % ofpeople pass their GCSE ‘s. No. He is unsure of his individuality. His individuality isuncertain because he no longer knows anything apart from consumerism ; there areno longer any alternate poles onto which to establish being. This uncertaintyresembles nil if non Sartrean sickness. Though the writer does non hold timeto develop the impression here, it could so be suggested that no merely do theauthors in inquiry unquestioningly take the bequest of modernism, their anxietyover their postmodern being structurally mirrors Sartrean ( 1989:361 ) nauseaover bourgeois being. Beck mirrors Bauman in his description of theuncertainty of our disembedded individuality. This subdivision will put out to reply animportant inquiry: does postmodern adult male be? If he does be, where can Ifind him?

Bauman notes ( 1988:807 ) in thepresent twenty-four hours society, consumer behavior ( consumer freedom geared to a consumermarket ) moves steadily into a place of at the same time, the cognitive andmoral focal point of life, integrative bond of society, and the focal point of systemicmanagement. Because of this laterality of the consumer society, a strongprocess of individualizing occurs. Given there is no longer any impression ofcommunity upon which to establish one ‘s action, people progressively treat theiridentity like a set of consumer goods: picking and taking what one wishes. Itis in consumerism that one finds the moral focal point of life that in modernism wasprovided by political orientation and in the premodern universe by faith. Indeed, Baumannasserts that in the present twenty-four hours the extremum experience ( the experience which bindspeople together in a community ) has ceased to be spiritual service but can nowbe found in consumerism.

This thesis is non tenable.Religious experience provides an orientation into something that is constructedas outside oneself ( I live for God ) , whereas consumerism provides afortification of the ego ( now I can be a new individual with my new places: I livefor me ) . Religion provides one with a community into which one is orientated asan whole number: consumerism, while one might portion a minute of joy with a friendover a new bandeau, asserts that one is self-created and therefore non built-in tosomething exterior of oneself. This is non to propose that today we have no peakexperiences create a sense of community. Rather, it is to propose that Baumanis looking in the incorrect topographic point to happen them and in making so has fundamentallymisunderstood the procedure of individualization today.

Furthermore, for person who hassupposedly emerged from out of the essentialist premises of the discourse ofmodernity, Bauman has surprisingly essentialist positions of consumerism. Informulating such positions, he forms straw work forces out of the material of the present age.To read Bauman on consumerism is to believe that we sit in forepart of adverts andsay ‘now I must purchase that ‘ and that we go to the promenade and revel in our newfoundconsumerism and the easiness with which we can happen new individualities. Contrary to thenotion that the dominant leitmotiv in society is consumerism, a figure ofpoints can be raised.

  • A system of marks ne’er totalises the significances that can be made from it. It is non the instance that people accept the significances of consumerism uncritically. They form their ain significances out of them. Goods such as trainers, nutrient and hair cartridge holders are formed into personal narratives and broader narrations that far exceed their significance as consumables. This emphasises Appadurai ‘s ( 1986:15 ) points that commodification is non an essentialist belongings of an object but instead a phase in its life flight: likewise, people are consumers for merely a period of their life, and utilize consumer goods in all kinds of ways outside of the manner the system constrained them.
  • Bauman states that market dependence has replaced articulated legitimacy. The province, it seems, no longer exists as an effectual force because, in Foucauldian manner, people are self-governed into accepting market dependence and their individuality as unsure, hazardous consumers. Yet, it is the articulated legitimacy of the province that makes market dependence possible. As Hardt and Negri ( 1999:112 ) note, the market has ever been reliant on the province for support.
  • Not merely is the market dependant on province force for its continued operation, and as such is still necessary, but people do non self-govern themselves into perfect consumers. As De Certeau ( 1999:23 ) notes, in society there are all kinds of illustration of the manner people distort and manipulate the system: soundless ways of defying market outlook. He gives the illustration ofLa perroque: the manner in which people will steal points from their work topographic point or usage work clip as their ain clip. In fact, the position of the dateless infinite less single that is seemingly postmodern seems to emerge from the same impression as Sartre: a bourgeois person who does non meet the direct force of articulated legitimacy nor indulges in the tactics of opposition the oppressed ( who we should observe, are ever told they have a topographic point ) are forced to utilize.

Yet, harmonizing to Bauman, in thisnew society ( 2001:98 ) all bounds are off bounds. We resemble the perfectdecontextualised, unembedded consumer, unencumbered by history or restrictionand free to indulge in maximal consumerism. While the writer might agree withBauman that this is suggested by the discourse of postmodernity, the authorwould argue that it is exactly at the meeting point between this discourseand lived world that the meaning emphasis of postmodern adult male occurs. He soonrealises that there are bounds ( it is merely they are off – concealed – bounds ) .Limits to the sum of good being practical world can give him.Limits to consumerism ; posed, in the terminal by decease. It is in this signifyingstress between our function as free consumers and the bounds we place, and thehidden bounds we find, that mean the possibility of interrupting out of thisdiscourse is conceivable, and so, frequent.

Bauman asserts with Beck that wehave moved from societal persons determined by modernism to individualisedindividuals. This move explains why ( 2001:12 ) the narratives told today do notreach beyond the narrow and fastidiously fenced off enclosure of the privateand subjective ego. One could add: it is astonishing we can still speak to eachother. This individualization is non a pick ( ibid ) , but a biographicalsolution to systemic contradictions. Bauman asserts that this individualself-definition is the lone possible solution to the systemic force per unit areas ofliquid modernness. In the province of atomization, Bauman claims, faith cansimply non supply a satisfactory account that encompasses the liquidmodern status. This will come as intelligence to many Americans, who use a religiousframework ( frequently, if one listens to George W. Bush ‘s dictums, in a verytotalising manner ) as a usher to modern life. The jobs of Bauman’shypothesis are greater nevertheless, than merely the empirical world of the world.Bauman leaves us no room in which to organize communities: and yet, amazingly, communities exist. Not practical communities, non communities on the cyberspace: but communities centred in topographic point. In these communities, narratives reach beyondthe private ego. They do so because they are drawn, as Benjamin ( 1999:84 ) notes of the narrative, from experience. Were Bauman to look at the universe we livein, instead than talk about, he would gain that, as De Certeau ( 1999:118 ) notes, amid the mutters of the system, people produce their ain significances.

So while Bauman is right to notethat individualization as a discourse has led to a dianoetic contraction ofpublic life, a tapering the art of public life down to a public show ofprivate personal businesss and public confessions of private sentiment, it is merely anerror of analysis to understand this contraction of the populace sphere as it wasunderstood in the 19C as the contraction of the populace sphere as a whole. Inclassical political theory, the political emerges in the metropolis. Publicinstitutions are designed to chair the demands of private persons ( thisis non a job in agricultural society where private involvements are bound uptogether ) . Therefore, the outgrowth of the populace sphere is bound up to thepossibility of exceeding private involvement. Rather than being a qualititivespace, this relationship became quantified: this abjuration of the public spaceis really what we find in the broad discourse of the postmodern individual.However, in the uniquenesss of the metropolis we find public infinites emerging. Inthe calls of thesans papier; which is non a claim for inclusion withinthe postmodern discourse but a universalist claim, that, as RanciAA?re ( 2003:40 ) notes: is non a group that ‘becomes cognizant ‘ of itself, finds its voice, imposesits weight on society. It is an operator that connects and disconnecteddifferent countries, parts, individualities, maps and capacities. In much lessprosaic ways this public infinite occurs: it occurs because the totalisingdiscourse of mobility that is the leitmotiv of modernness since Machiavelli ( andis non at all postmodern as Bauman supposes ) is merely that: discourse. Meanwhilepeople live in topographic point and infinite, and in such infinites, private involvements arealways transcended.

Bauman ‘s most of import mistakethen, is an ontological 1. He claims ( 1991:255 )

persons are self-constitutingwithin their home ground ( complex system ) : there is no end puting byinstitutions. What is of import to observe here is that persons are notself-constituting: they are thrown (gewortenheit ), as Heidegger ( 1962:45 ) would hold it, into their societal universe and given functions before they are evenself-conscious. The establishment of the societal universe one is in dictates onebefore one is witting. Indeed, one can state that Bauman ‘s analysis stems fromthe possibility of sing the universe as self-created. But of class it mustappear so within the footings of any discourse, because the background practicesthat concept the ego are needfully left in the background.

Bauman ( 2001:48 ) eventually claimswith gusto: we must larn to populate with ambivalency. Here the writer must admitsome confusion: did we non populate with ambivalency before? Was it misplaced inearlier times, or bury, or is it a recent innovation? As stated in theprevious two subdivisions, the inability of Bauman, and, as we shall shortly see, Beck, to pull historical continuities into modern experience leaves theiranalysis as shoal and overstated.

Sadly, Beck repeats all of Bauman’serrors. While for Bauman we must larn to populate with ambivalency, Beck claims wemust learn to populate with hazard. Now, Beck asserts, that we have been disembeddedfrom the certainties of household, gender and sex ; we must contrive our owncertainties and go individualized persons. This ( 1997:94 ) he termssubpolitics. This individualising procedure is structurally parallel to Bauman’sindividualisation. In both, the antecedently rich establishments of modernism aremysteriously emptied of content and we inhabit a dual universe between theseinstitutions which no longer command any facet of individuality, and our newreflexively modern ( for Beck, 2nd modernness is tantamount to Bauman ‘s LiquidModernity ) selves. For Beck, this is the contrary of the industrial revolutions, where strong establishments dictated to people ( besides cryptically emptied of content ) .

Like Bauman ‘s forcedindividualisation, now for Beck, every determination is a personal 1. Notions ofcommunity for Beck emerge from the underside up, from freely chosen links betweenpeople, instead than the top down entire ordination that he finds in modernness. Wehave already noted for Bauman that modernness was non totalizing, and that theidea of community being born of free persons ignores the fact one is alwaysalready within a community. For Beck, these new communities challenge the ideaof a community linked to a individual vicinity. He so gives many illustrations, likethe Hmong community outside of Vietnam. What is noticeable for the writer aboutthe Hmong community is the extent to whichdespitethe planetary separationof its members it needfully connects to a topographic point. As Heidegger ( 1962:120 ) notes, all being, so all linguistic communication, is connected to put and how oneinhabits it.

Hmong members, like the remainder of thesecond modern universe, determine themselves in footings of hazard. Rather than thenotion of hazard being an unknown, as seemingly it was for the moderns, riskbecomes a belongings of ourselves: we become hazardous. For case, Beck gives theexample of atomic waste as an illustration of a recent phenomenon that is aproperty of our action itself. He notes ( 1998:53 ) : in category place beingdetermines consciousness, while in hazard places, conversely, consciousness ( cognition ) determines being. Which is to state: we determine our being throughour cognition. What this ignores, as Bauman besides ignores, is that we are neverfully the Masterss of our ain Acts of the Apostless. Man is found in a universe that exceeds him.The possibility of the meaning emphasis laid out above is because adult male is actedon by forces of his ain creative activity, and these forces are ne’er contiguous withthe domain of lived experience. Beck claims that today ( ibid: 183 ) :

The beginnings of danger are nolonger ignorance, but cognition ; non a deficient but perfect command overnature ; non what eludes the human appreciation but the systems of norms and objectiveconstraints established with the industrial era. Given what is argued above: it should be evident that the norms and nonsubjective restraints of theindustrial era are exactly what elude the human appreciation.

Volts: Many StrawMen organize little Straw Dogs: the coming community.

Both Bauman and Beck are positivepolitical minds. While they chronicle the evident death of previousnotions of community, and chart the rise of individualization, they are alsohopeful for new signifiers of community to emerge ; what Beck calls a re-embedding.Yet, for the minds of postmodernity, the replies to what organize community willtake are surprisingly old. Bauman, who we shall analyze foremost, gives what wewill name the premodern reply, while Beck, the modernist answer.

Bauman, obviously worried about allthis unrestrained individuality, calls up a new arm: morality. For Bauman ( 1993:13 ) : moral duty is a enigma reverse to ground. Bauman usesa train of idea that has its beginnings in Aristotle, but is so used by bothArendt, and more recently, Levinas. With Levinas, Bauman argues ( ibid ) rousing to being for the other is the rousing the ego, which is therebirth of the ego. This is unusually similar to Arendt ( 1964:256 ) when shenotes:

It seems that a adult male who is nothingbut a adult male has lost the really qualities which make it possible for others totreat him as a fellow adult male.

The statement would run here thatthe really possibility of humanity is given by the acknowledgment of the otherwithin you: that your concurrent being is the footing for being. Yet, Levinas ( 1999 ) and Arendt are utilizing a bequest here wholly incompatible with Baumanand his impression that we are either tourers or vagabonds ( condemned to movearound, some with pleasance some with hurting ) . He claims this topographic point ( or acceptingthe other ) can be called communtarianism and is ( 1997:189 ) a point from whichall things can be seen in true proportions. In this scheme, community precedeschoice: a community is formed and so we come to a determination. I will non repeatarguments made elsewhere in the essay, but simply note that the ontologicalbase for the statement of Levinas can be found in Jewish thought which requiresprecisely the silence of a committedness to something outside of yourself: exactly non that given by postmodern discourse.

While Bauman takes Levinas and useshim in an incoherent manner, possibly reflecting the inability of postmoderndiscourse to happen good models for coming communities, Beck utilisesmodernism in an surprisingly unchanged manner. In a recent essay ( 2004 ) , Beck attacksuniversalism as doing all civilizations tantamount and onslaughts relativism asignoring the interconnectedness of civilizations and taking to common ignorance asneither side admits the possibility of cognizing the others truth. After attackingthese straw work forces, he proposes his solution: realistic cosmopolite pragmatism. Whatwould such long words mean? It would needfully ( ibid: 430 ) embraceuniversalist criterions ‘in order to protect one ‘s basic rules ‘ , andrealistically accept that ‘it may in some fortunes be necessary to violatethem. Beck ‘s sociology here runs aground on several counts. He assumes thatthere are basic rules without turn outing it, and uses the illustration of thedebate de la Casas had on whether the Amerindians had souls. What isinteresting here, is that at the same clip, as Levi-Strauss ( 1955:84 ) notes, the Indians were holding a conference on whether the Spanish had organic structures, andsubjecting them to rigorous proving by submerging.

The point to deduce from this storyis that such criterions of basic rule assume the universe La Casas hadassumed: a individual universe with a individual impression of the organic structure and of the universe. Inthis sense, the modernist minds had made the Earth a dianoetic integrity. Nowthe Earth seems like a pressure unconceptualised world, and within thisreality calls for pragmatism assorted with basic criterions fail to reply any ofthe pressure jobs of the universe today. Beck notes ( ibid: 438 ) : cosmopolitanism, once more, means a acknowledgment of distinctness, both external andinternal to any society: in a widely distributed ordination of society difference areneither ranged in a hierarchy nor dissolved into catholicity but areaccepted. The pressing inquiries of how they are accepted, or why, or whichdifferences, are all left unreciprocated.

VI. Decision

This essay has analysed the manner inwhich the two writers in inquiry have made usage of a common mythico-history ofthe universe. This mythico-history is a bequest of a modernist undertaking that wantedto place the premodern adult male in the kingdom of myth and phantasy, and topographic point themodern adult male at the tallness of reason. In some senses, Beck and Baumancontinue the review of modernness that began in Adorno ( 1972 ) . They criticisereason and the enlightenment undertaking: but they do so from within ground. Thereal undertaking that is necessary in order to measure what it means today to be anindividual, and what it means to be within a community, is to understand theways in which modernism was non an ordered entirety but a heterogenous arrayof processs and patterns. Once this undertaking is achieved so we can get down tothink about the liquid modern person. Sadly, neither of the writers inquestion hold begun that undertaking.

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