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Review of Wasted Lives by Zygmunt Bauman

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Hongye Wu

on 24 March 2015

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Transcript of Review of Wasted Lives by Zygmunt Bauman

The exact number of stateless people is not known, but UNHCR estimates that there are at least 10 million globally (Bauman estimated 22.1 million)

Montenegro- 3,300
Estonia- 91,000
Latvia- 267,000
Myanmar, Dominican Republic, West Africa region, and so on
What is the meaning of wasted lives?
Important questions:
- in theory, can lives be wasted?
- what does it mean to lead a wasted life
no objects are ‘waste’ by their intrinsic qualities, and no objects can become waste through their inner logic. it is by being assigned to waste by human designs that material objects, including human themselves, acquire all the qualities similar to that of a industrial waste

Modernity and its outcasts

- the waste of order-building
- the waste of economic progress
- the waste of globalization

The modern mind
the world can be changed- rejecting the world as it has been thus far and the resolution to change it.
a desire, and a determination, to defy its sameness. to make a difference, to remake itself, and to go on remaking it
Review of Wasted Lives by Zygmunt Bauman
Hongye Wu

Bauman: “ it is the human design that conjures up disorder together with the vision of order, dirt together with the project of purity.”
LEWIS MUMFORD: farming vs. mining
rupture and discontinuity


“waste is simultaneously divine and satanic. it is the midwife of all creation- and its most formidable obstacle”
necessity of the waste

the Law- Inclusive exclusion
The law is a des
ign, a blueprint for a clearly circumscribed, legibly marked, mapped and signposted habitat.
It is the law that brings lawlessness into being by drawing the line dividing the inside from the outside.
Lawlessness is not a mere absence of law; lawlessness arises with the withdrawal, suspension, refusal of law.
Uomini Sacri
in ancient roman law
‘ set outside human jurisdiction without being brought into the realm of divine law’
secular terms
: neither defined by any set of positive laws nor a carrier of human rights that precede legal rules
GIORGIO AGAMBEN: “people today is nothing other than the empty support of state identity and is recognized as such”
state identity,
concept of citizenship

the degree of overpopulation ought to be measured in reference to the number of people to be sustained by the resources a given country owns and the capacity of the local environment to sustain human life
Entropy in terms of economy
the different prices between import and export allow rich countries to amass resources and energy from less developed countries
PAUL EHRLICH: the main population problem is in wealthy countries
The sustainability of mankind depends on how they behave
Issue of Economic Migration
they are rather unintended and unplanned ‘collateral casualties’ of economic progress
African migrants to the EU
Recast as a 'danger to safety', the immigrants offered a convenient alternative focus for the apprehensions born of the sudden shakiness and vulnerability of social positions, and so they were a relatively safer outlet for the discharge of anxiety and anger which such apprehensions could not but cause
“interstate” global space created by globalization enables non-state entities, subject to no state laws and no international conventions, to continuously disrupt and erode state sovereignty and to worsen the situation for the homeless and stateless victims of globalization
Global Forced Displacement
culture of waste cont.
we hate those people because we feel that what they are going through in front of our eyes may well prove to be, and soon, a dress rehearsal of our own fate
the big question
Is there a way out?
Culture of waste
Full transcript