- Paperback: 180 pages
- Publisher: Polity (March 13 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9781509515325
- ISBN-13: 978-1509515325
- ASIN: 1509515321
- Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 1.8 x 21.3 cm
- Shipping Weight: 240 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #338,007 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Retrotopia Paperback – Mar 13 2017
Frequently bought together
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
About the Author
Zygmunt Bauman (1925-2017) was Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of Leeds.
Customers who bought this item also bought
No customer reviews
|5 star (0%)|
|4 star (0%)|
|3 star (0%)|
|2 star (0%)|
|1 star (0%)|
Review this product
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Professor Bauman draws on the great thinkers of the past including Thomas More, Thomas Hobbes and Philippe van Parijs to ponder the idea of human progress over the centuries. However, Professor Bauman contends that today, growing inequality has disillusioned ordinary people. Instead of imagining an utopian future, people have retreated into the narcissism of their private lives; where an imagined past “Retrotopia” fills the void of a lost community.
Of course, Professor Bauman understands that demagogues have emerged to prey on the insecurities of the many. The value of Professor Bauman’s writing pertains to how he deconstructs the uneven social relations that drives class conflict in our time. Through his astute analysis, we realize that utopia can be ours if we want it; once we have the courage to accept everyone in the human family on equal terms. It’s a compelling, sincere and powerful closing to a book – and a life – that is eminently worthy of the reader’s thought, reflection and action.
I highly recommend this outstanding book to everyone.
To better help you judge whether the topic and the author’s writing style suit you, here is the author’s definition of retrotopia from the Introduction:
“What I call ‘retrotropia’, is a derivative of the aforementioned second degree of negation – negation of utopia’s negation, one that shares with Thomas More’s legacy its fixity on a territorially sovereign topos: a firm ground thought to provide, and hopefully guarantee, an acceptable modicum of stability and therefore a satisfactory legacy in approving, absorbing, and incorporating the contributions/corrections supplied by its immediate predecessor: namely, the replacement of the ‘ultimate perfection’ idea with the assumption of the non-finality and endemic dynamism of the order it promotes, allowing thereby for the possibility (as well as desirability) of an indefinite succession of future changes that such an idea a priori de-legitimizes and precludes. True to the utopian spirit, retrotopia derives it stimulus from the hope of reconciling, at long last, security with freedom: the feat that both the original vision and its first negation didn’t try – or, having attempted, failed – to attain. I intend to follow this brief sketch of the most notable meanders of the post-More, 500-years-long history of modern utopia, with an exercise in unraveling, portraying and putting on record some of the most remarkable ‘back to the future’ tendencies inside the emergent ‘retrotopian’ phase in utopia’s history – in particular, rehabilitation of the tribal mode of community, return to the concept of a primordial/pristine self predetermined by non-cultural and culture-immune factors, and all in all retreat from the presently held (prevalent in both social science and popular opinions) view of the essential, presumably non-negotiable and sine qua non features of the ‘civilized order’.”
I believe that this passage should let you know whether this book is for you or not.
I will not claim that I completely understood it or could grasp large chunks of what Bauman was saying - it is a level above me. However, I can absolutely grasp and agree with his primary theory which is that this modern age has turned on its heel and now sees the utopia as our past. It's pretty depressing when you think about it, and "retropia" is a great term. When I was growing up, it was the future we were looking toward - but now, the past seems so much better. The future seems awful.
Bauman lays out why and how that happened, and much of that argument can be made using Hobbes and other writers of the past. Our relationships are growing ever more narrow as our insecurity grows - we reenter the world of nasty, brutish and short (or the illusion of it).
Very complex book - and it's not for a lay reader to skim through at one sitting. But if you're willing to give it a hard read, you will find a lot of gems of observation here. A lot over my head, but I still grasped and appreciated the thesis. The right reader - probably somebody with a degree in philosophy - is going to appreciate this quite a bit.