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Contemporary social evils$
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Joseph Rowntree Foundation

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9781847424099

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781847424099.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM POLICY PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.policypress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Policy Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PPSO for personal use.date: 20 September 2021

The absence of society

The absence of society

(p.147) 12 The absence of society
Contemporary social evils

Zygmunt Bauman

Policy Press

This chapter reports the most disturbing aspect of contemporary social problems. They stem from an absence or withdrawal of society, rather than its pressures. Concern with the way the world is managed is giving way to an individualistic concern with self-management and self-promotion. The ‘social state’ that recognised people's dependence on each other and provided collective insurance against misfortune has been supplanted by a doctrine of individualism stoked by heavily marketed dreams of wealth and celebrity. This society has come to meet all the conditions for widespread cognitive dissonance and resentment. The meaning of failure in a society of consumers is discussed. It is stated that the list of conspicuous and worrying manifestations of ‘social ills’ produced by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation's consultation has its roots in the sociocultural and political transformations of the last few decades.

Keywords:   contemporary social problems, society, social state, individualism, consumers, Joseph Rowntree Foundation

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