School of Sociology and Social Policy

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Zygmunt Bauman and Edward Bond’s Critical Thoughts on Postmodern Morality

Summary

This paper will examine the critical stances of sociologist Zygmunt Bauman and British playwright Edward Bond. Their works are similar in the critical approach they take to the so-called civilized values of our time.

Zygmunt Bauman’s Life in Fragments: Essays in Postmodern Morality (1995) examines the problem of professional ethics in the context of the XX century, both in the environment that produced and supervised Auschwitz, and in our neoliberal, democratic, globalized corporate world.

Edward Bond (in his plays, but also in his theoretical essays such as “Notes on Postmodernism”, and other texts collected in Hidden Plot: Notes on Theatre and the State, 2000) examines the chances for survival of our humanity within societies based on obedience and continued belief in ‘ethical’ rationalizations which led to Auschwitz and Hiroshima in the past, and are likely to do so again.

Comparing the work of those two thinkers it is conceivable to find interesting connections in their approaches to the possible alternatives which could help us transcend postmodern morality – the dominant discourse which continues to promote old (and new) forms of violence, and generate unjust societies within the much advertised neoliberal New World Order.

Key words: humanity, morality, post-modernity, civilization, violence

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