Ali Rattansi
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On the ‘liquid’ metaphor
What is this liquid in 'liquid modernity’?
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Coining the concept of 'liquid modernity' was a way of putting the matter beyond any doubt, while also giving a positive content to the new reality. Mark Davis is insistent that Bauman's decision to use the metaphor of liquidity 'can be seen as an artistic, literary decision rather than a scientific one'. Bauman's choice of and explication of the 'liquid' metaphor cannot be considered immune to critical interrogation simply because it may in part be regarded as a 'literary' decision. The choice is a literary-cum-sociological-empirical one, and various questions may legitimately be put to probe its appropriateness, plausibility and possible limitations. In Moral Blindness, Bauman's correspondent Leonidas Donskis coins the notion of 'liquid totalitarianism' to characterise contemporary China and Putin's Russia. However, no plausible reasons are provided for this invention, and in his reply Bauman does not question the appropriateness of this term.

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Bauman and contemporary sociology

A critical analysis

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