The Charlie Hebdo Attack And What It Reveals About Society

Zygmunt Bauman

You went through the tragedies of the 20th century – two wars, Shoah, Stalinism. What’s the specificity of the islamic extremist threat we’re facing today, in your view? Political assassination is as old as humanity and the chances that it will be dead before humanity dies are dim. Violence is an un-detachable companion of inter-human antagonisms […]

The European Elections, Politics And Inequality

Zygmunt Bauman

Throughout most of our electronic exchanges we tackle the issue of the “self” as such, and its “production” as such, concentrating on the features all selves and all cases of their production share, and only occasionally mentioning their diversities. But “selves” come in many shapes and colours, and so do the settings, mechanisms, procedures of […]

The Changing Nature Of Work And Agency In Times Of Interregnum

Zygmunt Bauman

Henning Meyer has asked my opinion on the big societal challenges likely to characterize the year we’ve just entered. There are, no doubt, many – perhaps uncountable – unresolved issues that will demand close watching during the coming year and press us for bold decisions and fateful steps. They are too numerous and most of […]

Europe Is Trapped Between Power and Politics: By Zygmunt Bauman

CC Derek Keats (Flickr)

That the disease which brought the European Union into the intensive-care ward and has kept it there since, for quite a few years, is best diagnosed as a ‘democratic deficit’ is fast turning into a commonplace. Indeed, it is taken increasingly for granted and is hardly ever seriously questioned. Some observers and analysts ascribe the […]

Does The Richness Of The Few Benefit Us All? By Zygmunt Bauman


A most recent study by the World Institute for Development Economics Research at the United Nations University reports that the richest 1% of adult humans alone owned 40% of global assets in the year 2000, and that the richest 10% of adults accounted for 85% of the total world wealth. The bottom half of the […]

Politics, the Good Society and ‘Westphalian Sovereignty’

Zygmunt Bauman

Yong June, the creator and editor-in-chief of Indigo, one of the most ambitious, iconoclastic and lively periodicals dedicated to the critical scrutiny of the present-day realities and in particular to the issue of regaining the lost control over human condition, pressed me to sum up my view of the reasons for which such control has […]

Youth Unemployment – The Precariat is welcoming Generation Y

Zygmunt Bauman

In Natalie Brafman’s article titled “Génération Y: du concept marketing à la réalité“, published in its 19th May issue, Le Monde pronounced the Generation Y to be “more individualistic and disobedient to bosses, but above all more precarious” – if compared with the “boom” and “X” generations that preceded it, that is. Between themselves journalists, […]

On Underwear Bombs

Zygmunt Bauman

Two days after Social Europe published my note on soft power and hard facts, the press announced the arrival of the new terrorist Wunderwaffe: the underwear bomb… Just to remind you, the piece ended with a musing: Some people reckon that the collapse of the Soviet Union was triggered by Reagan involving Gorbachev in an […]

Do Facebook and Twitter help spread Democracy and Human Rights?

Zygmunt Bauman

The official American establishment’s reaction to the Iranian youth venting briefly on the streets of Tehran their protest against fraudulent elections of June 2009 bore striking resemblance to a commercial campaign on behalf of the likes of Facebook, Google or Twitter. I suppose that some gallant investigative journalist, to whose company alas I do not […]

Soft Power and Hard Facts

Zygmunt Bauman

Joseph S. Nye Jr. has turned upside down Machiavelli’s infamous recommendation to the Prince: it is safer when people fear you than when they love you… Whether or not that recommendation was right for the Princes, remains a moot question; but it no longer makes sense for presidents and prime ministers. Nye would agree that […]

2011 – The Year of People on the Move

Zygmunt Bauman

There is some likelihood that the year about to end will be recorded in history as a “year of people on the move”. When people move, two questions are in order. The first is: where from are they moving? The second is: where to? There has been no shortage of answers to the first question; […]

Godd Riddance Berlusconi – And Viva Italia!

Zygmunt Bauman

Let me recall the verdicts of the great Portuguese man of letters José Saramago, who – frustrated by the stultifying dilatoriness of Italian legal justice – would not meekly wait for the court of Italian conscience  to be called into session. Saramago, alas, won’t be able to react in person on the sorely delayed verdict […]