The End of Utopia as We Know It? Zygmunt Bauman’s Take on Our Contemporary Times


According to Bauman, we live in a world of hunting and hunters where instead of lingering in the present and appreciating it for what it holds, we push into the future at an ever-increasing speed unable to seize the day and live the moment. When too concerned with maintaining a state of flux we lose sight of the utopia that we may partly be living in - at least in a western world generally spared from first-hand warfare, where citizens enjoy technological and scientific advancements and breakthroughs. In Bauman’s words written in 2005 but holding true to this day we, rather naively, “dream time and again of a world with no accidents”. Fearlessly we live through the day while we already anticipate the next. In doing so we not only disregard the importance of the present but also that of the past, seemingly forgetting about it altogether. On a national level this is a hunter’s “utopia” where “[w]e are all hunters" engaged in an individual postmodern hunt into an uncertain future. Bauman questions whether in the name of game-keeping globalization - with utopia potentially being synonymous with ‘fictional’, ‘chimerical’, ‘air-built’, ‘unrealistic’, or ‘irrational’ - we have come to the end of utopia as we know it? Are we “witnessing the end of utopia?”. Fast-forward to 2017 and now embarking on a shaky journey into 2018 we face a world in disarray and fragmentation. This paper applies Bauman’s lucid thoughts to an analysis of the unpredictable present.

Author Information
Anna Karin Jytte Holmqvist, Monash University, Australia

Paper Information
Conference: EuroMedia2018
Stream: Critical and Cultural Studies, Gender and Communication

This paper is part of the EuroMedia2018 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon