Tuesday 13 August 2019

Zygmunt Bauman, again

I read this recently, which is worth checking out. Here are a few quick chunks that feel very relevant (all from Bauman):

"[T]he mistrust of all and any order, synchronic and diachronic alike; questioning of the idea of 'order' as such; the tendency to raise 'flexibility' and 'innovation above 'stability' and 'continuity' in the hierarchy of values; melting with no moulds prepared in which to pour the molten metal. All this suggests the prospect of the present interregnum lasting for a rather long time. And let's remember that one of the most prominent traits of a period of interregnum is that anything, or almost anything, can happen, though nothing, or almost nothing, can be done with any degree of confidence and self-assurance."

"Our fathers could quarrel about what needs to be done, but they all agreed that once the task had been defined, the agency would be there, waiting to perform it - namely, the states armed simultaneously with power (ability to get things done) and politics (the ability to see to it that the right things are done). Our times, however, are striking for the gathering evidence that agencies of this kind are no longer in existence, and most certainly not to be found in their previous usual places. Power and politics live and move in separation from each other and their divorce lurks around the corner. On the one hand we see power safely roaming the no-man's-land of global expanses, free from political control and at liberty to select its own targets; on the other, there is politics squeezed/robbed of nearly all its power, muscles and teeth."

"Our 'interregnum' is marked by the dismantling and discrediting of the institutions which have till now serviced the processes of forming and integrating public visions, programmes and projects. After being subjected, together with the rest of the social fabric of human cohabitation, to the process of thorough deregulation, fragmentation and privatisation, such institutions remain stripped of a large part of their executive capacity and most of their authority and trustworthiness, with only a slim chance of getting them back."