On the Liquidity of Evil: Modernity and the Dissolution of Ethics in Bauman's Social Theory

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

Colleges, School and Institutes


The chapter deals with the social determination of evil through the systems of instrumental rationality Bauman identitifies as the essence of modernity. The chapter examines the mutations of instrumental reason that Bauman develops in his later work, from Modernity and the Holocaust through to his account of liquid modernity. The essence of the argument is that: (1) Bauman's version of Weber's disenchantment thesis completely destroys the possibilty ethical obligation and political action (2) the 'cultural turn' of late-Marxism (Derrida, Jameson, Harvey etc) offers the possibilty of re-inscribing the trace of a counter-hegemonic politics.


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLiquid Sociology
Subtitle of host publicationMetaphor in Bauman's Writings on Modernity
EditorsMichael Davis
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 28 Feb 2013


  • Bauman, Liquid Modernity, Evil, Ethics