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Zygmunt Bauman

Polish-born sociologist, Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the University of Leeds, author of Intimations of Postmodernity

The feasibility of modern life has been grounded from the start on the assumption that the social world can be moulded by design. ... The first crisis was associated with the collapse of the sanguine and (for us, baptised as we have been by world war and totalitarian fire) naive liberal project, and the slow yet terminal agony of the liberal utopia. Today we are in crisis again; once more we doubt that the social world can be understood, let alone kneaded into better shape; this time, though, mindful of the great reshaping experiments of a Stalin or a Hitler, we also doubt whether attempts to remake the world by design would yield anything able to redeem the disaster that must surely follow.

1995 - from an essay in the Times Higher Education Supplement