Zygmunt Bauman delivers the Ernest Jones Lecture 2012: Culture, Identity and Liquid Modernity

baumanInstitute of Child Health
30 Guilford Street
London WC1N 1EH

In his lecture Professor Zygmunt Bauman will reconsider man’s relationship with his world from the perspective of the stage for which he uses the term  ‘liquid modernity’.

In ‘Civilization and its Discontents’, Bauman suggests, Freud has come to the conclusion that our psychological discomfort arises from a kind of ‘bargain’ we make with the world: we surrender our freedom in exchange for the increase in security offered us by the process of civilization. The cost to be paid is high:  the repression of our drives and the setting up of forms of internal judgment and control; this leaves us constantly prey to unease.

Bauman’s proposition is that the dominant mood of anxiety of our age seems to derive from a reversal of this ‘bargain.’

We have surrendered security in exchange for expansion in the realm of a peculiar freedom that leaves us floating in what he calls a liquid world.  If in the past we longed for freedom, now we long for security. Are we now witnessing a turn of the pendulum? And if so, what consequences might it bring in its wake?