Issue 118, October 2013

Hurried Life / Good Life

This issue brings together two guest edited sections on the works of Zygmunt Bauman and Daniel Bell. The first, edited by Mark Davis, director of the Bauman Institute in Leeds, tackles the problematic of temporality in the contemporary world. The experience of time itself seems to be melting – from the solid lines of predictable linearity into the formless flowing of compression, extension, and simultaneity. As time becomes more hurried, more multifaceted, and more filled with activity, we respond with more impatience, anxiety, and distraction.

Technology is interrogated here as a major cause of this new, always changing sense of time, especially regarding the evolving second world of the ‘online’ versus the ‘offline’. This division erodes the traditional ‘dividing lines’ of the social. Zygmunt Bauman writes in his introductory essay:

As far as our collective memory can delve into the past, our ancestors had to reconcile two or more sharply different, all too often contradictory and incompatible, sets of principles, norms and behavioral patterns around which their lives were wrapped. Most of the lines dividing the world they lived (like for instance border – or frontlines that separated the sacred from the mundane, public from private, or working time from the time of leisure) have been by now blurred and all but effaced – or at least relegated from the premier league of concerns to the murky and seldom if at all visited expanses of irrelevancy. In the order of importance measured by the extent of nuisance they provoke, all such past splits have been by now left behind by another division: one between online and offline segments of the world we currently inhabit.

From the accelerating technological culture of postmodernity, to the ‘profaned’ world of modernity: the following section, edited by Eduardo de la Fuente, assesses the important influence of Daniel Bell, in particular his notion of the unique but interacting ‘three realms’ of social life – the economic, the cultural and the political. Together these realms produce the contradictions of capitalist culture, and two of the papers below discuss just how pertinent this analysis remains today. Also as part of the discussion are essays on his relation to Marxism, using an often overlooked early work, and the importance of his conservatism in the field of American sociology. And finally, an inquiry into the significance of religion to culture, or its lack thereof, in modern times.

Table of Contents

Bauman and the Hurried Life

Dividing time, or loves labours lost…
Zygmunt Bauman

Hurried lives: Dialectics of time and technology in liquid modernity
Mark Davis

The temporal horizon of ‘The Choice’: anxieties and banalities in ‘Time’, modern and liquid
Tom Campbell

Architects of time: Labouring on digital futures
Chris Till

Citizenship, space and time: Engagement, identity and belonging in a connected world
Nick Ellison

Bell and the Good Life

Daniel Bell: American Menshevik
Peter Beilharz

Daniel Bell, Conservative
Peter Murphy

The Culture Crunch: Daniel Bell’s The Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism
Andrew Gilbert

Daniel Bell’s ‘Disjunction of the Realms’: On the importance of unfashionable sociology
Jordan McKenzie

‘Profane’ rather than ‘secular’: Daniel Bell as cultural sociologist and critic of modern culture
Eduardo de la Fuente

Review essay

Becoming dislocated: Zygmunt Bauman’s Culture in a Liquid Modern World (Polity, 2011); Collateral Damage: Social Inequalities in a Global Age (Polity, 2011); This Is Not A Diary (Polity, 2012)
Chris Till

Book Reviews

Nikos Papastergiadis, Cosmopolitanism and Culture
Leon van Schaik

Jules Simon, Art and Responsibility: A Phenomenology of the Diverging Paths of Rosenzweig and Heidegger
Wayne Cristaudo

David Roberts, The Total Work of Art in European Modernism
Roger Hillman

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