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Clarissa's Blog

An academic's opinions on feminism, politics, literature, philosophy, teaching, academia, and a lot more.

Book Notes: Zygmunt Bauman’s Wasted Lives 

The Big Brother described by George Orwell was obsessed with inclusion. His goal was to get and keep everybody in line, never letting them depart from the common fold. The USSR, which was the climactic achievement of this form of Big Brotherhood didn’t let people leave its borders at all.

Today, this kind of Big Brother is not dead. He resides in prisons, in urban ghettos, and in places where it’s still needed to keep people under control. 

This Big Brother now has an even Bigger Brother. This new species of Big Brother is all about exclusion. Who should be discarded, thrown out on the rubbish heap of history now? Which profession has become obsolete? Which group of people is superfluous? 

We all assist Bigger Brother by eagerly embracing the mandate to treat each other as consumption goods. Bauman believed that being stuck between Big Brothers #1 and #2 cannot be the only possible way for humans to coexist. This book was a call to start looking for a new way of relating to each other. 

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4 thoughts on “Book Notes: Zygmunt Bauman’s Wasted Lives 

  1. So am I to understand you’re saying that thinking about our relationships with other humyns in terms of either inclusion or exclusion is a trap, and that we should maybe be thinking as far as possible outside the inclusion/exclusion box?

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