Zygmunt Bauman

Zygmunt Bauman (1925) is a Polish sociologist and philosopher. Professor at Warsaw University until he was expelled from university during the anti-Semitic purge of 1968, he emigrated to Israel and taught at universities in Tel Aviv and Haifa. Subsequently he was invited to chair the Social Sciences Department at Leeds University in the UK. His books include “Europe – an Unfinished Adventure, Liquid Modernity, Liquid Life, Does Ethics Have a Chance in a World of Consumers?.

Inhumanity Is Part of Human Nature / Part II.

Jean-Paul Sartre once shocked the reading public by making the paradoxical claim that the French had never been as free as during the German occupation. It was, he claimed, only a seeming paradox since one gets trapped by free choice that disguises necessity – and for the French were deprived of the temptation of this trap by the German occupiers who left them no choice. And if the French were left with no choice, the same applies to the Poles a hundred times more so! After all, some of the German satraps tried to woo the French, promising them a […]

Inhumanity is part of human nature

Motherland means safety – says Jean Améry. Writing these words in his 1966 book At the Mind’’s Limits, in the chapter entitled How Much Motherland Does a Man Need? the Frenchman Jean Améry, born Franz Meyer in Austria in 1912, knew what he was talking about. He had lost his homeland and it took him 27 years to fully grasp what that loss – by then irreversible and irretrievable – entailed: he realized that by returning to a space one never regains the time lost. Safety means certainty; and in turn, we can feel safe wherever we do not expect […]

Laboratory Europe

Is there a way of making this world hospitable to Europe? For we, Europeans, are not feeling quite at ease in today’’s world. Heidegger once said that we begin to think about a problem only when things suddenly start behaving in a surprising way. Only then do we move from the sphere of handeln [acting] to the sphere of verhandeln [negotiating]. Until that point the facts are just a part of our everyday experience and we are not fully aware of their existence. Only when things start to go wrong do we transfer them into the realm of observeable nuisances […]