This book is about the central figure of our contemporary, ‘liquid modern’ times – the man or woman with no bonds, and particularly with none of the fixed or durable bonds that would allow the effort of self-definition and self-assertion to come to a rest. Having no permanent bonds, the denizen of our liquid modern society must tie whatever bonds they can to engage with others, using their own wits, skill and dedication. But none of these bonds are guaranteed to last. Moreover, they must be tied loosely so that they can be untied again, quickly and as effortlessly as possible, when circumstances change – as they surely will in our liquid modern society, over and over again.
The uncanny frailty of human bonds, the feeling of insecurity that frailty inspires, and the conflicting desires to tighten the bonds yet keep them loose, are the principal themes of this important new book by Zygmunt Bauman, one of the most original and influential social thinkers of our time. It will be of great interest to students and scholars in sociology and in the social sciences and humanities generally, and it will appeal to anyone interested in the changing nature of human relationships.