Individualization and social dis/integration in contemporary society
a comparative note on Zygmunt Bauman and Norbert Elias
This chapter explores the approach to, and conceptualization of, individualization and socialization within the work of Zygmunt Bauman and Norbert Elias. We argue that, although both theorists place great emphasis on these powerful social processes, their respective positions differ markedly. We explore the theoretical differences and similarities in the two concepts of socialization and individualization set out by the two thinkers, before a discussion of how their contrasting approaches are manifested in the way that they deal with common concerns including social integration, distinction, and conflict. Both Bauman and Elias have produced a vast and diverse body of theoretical work that we cannot do justice to within the confines of this chapter. We therefore focus on the differences in terms of individualization as a long-term integrating force for Elias; and as a selective, discriminatory one for Bauman precipitating a decline in social solidarity and the potential for collective action, as well as sharper social inequalities driven by an uneven, individualized mobility.
Flint, J. , Powell, R. (2013)., Individualization and social dis/integration in contemporary society: a comparative note on Zygmunt Bauman and Norbert Elias, in F. Dépelteau & T. Savoia Landini (eds.), Norbert Elias and social theory, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 261-274.
This document is unfortunately not available for download at the moment.