EDITORIAL. Tribute to Bauman: Liquid identity and strong values, how can the non profit counteract populism
A while ago, I attended a funny wedding (mine) that made me read the ‘Interview on Identity’ again with pleasure, written by Z. Bauman.
The newlyweds (civil marriage), were from different nationalities, both ‘in transit’ between different countries and European cities, each of them with children born from their previous marriages. Amongst the friends, despite the ceremony was for only few close friends and relatives, 5 nationalities were present, Italians, Spanish, Germans and Croatians. A good part of the children, mixed as well.
Fluid was also the sexual orientation of the guests, the witness of the bride was gay, and he was living in a foreign country (at the end of the ceremony he was ‘hit’ by the bride’s bouquets of flowers); accompanied by his partner – same nationality but who lives in another European city – they hope to get married as soon as possible.
The liquid dimension flew also on the ‘friendship’ side, with the first wife of the groom now as his witness; the second partner of the groom now as witness of the bride; the husband of the first groom’s wife and also a dear friend of the couple and official photographer, the former husband of the bride is in very good terms with the newlyweds… and I could keep telling you about the plots of the German couples, but I stop now as I would end up confusing the patient reader!
This is it, our modern society and it sometimes results as a bit complicated to explain.
Liquidity of places, nationality, sexual orientation, formal and informal ties: a mix of stories and destinies-liquid, but cohesively tied.
What emerges from this apparently chaotic and, maybe for some, scandalous liquidity? Strong ties and values, of affection, love, friendship, intelligence, as the ones that indissolubly tied all the participants of the wedding, in a promise of enlarged belonging and loyalty, of liquid and globalised paternity and maternity. In other terms, a ‘liquid society’ that marries strong values, and remains cohesive.
Do not believe that this mentioned situation is that rare, we live more and more in contexts that only few people still see as bounded within traditional parameters.
This liquefaction of roles, places, conventions and traditional jobs is handled from those who have more trust in themselves (in general from a level of medium-high education, family security and infant psychosocial factors of ‘primary trust’) but this scares and tenses those who cannot handle it or who are somehow ‘blocked’ by some life conditions that are difficult to change, or which in order to be modified, would require a spiritual and physical strength that not everyone has. These ‘brothers’ as Francesco would say, and I like to listen to them, maybe the majority, do not see any opportunity, but just threats, they feel like victims and ignored in a world that they do not understand anymore.
For this reason, they are easy preys of the populism, that ‘defends’ them from external threats, and promises ‘a great return’ to the past, a stabilisation of the environment, a charismatic ‘guarantee’ figure. ‘Conservative’ line also followed by many syndicates in Europe. Bauman had been saying that for 40 years, it would be interesting to understand where the left has been for the past decades.
From our side, as non-profit, what we can offer is a great and adventurous liquidity, but that flows around strong values of human being centrality, no matter which is their integration or active citizenship. A working identity, at the same time liquid, but solid and well delineated.
We want to represent, as NGO, a values, social and professional paradigm for the youth, being much more ‘pop’. Being, for the politics, a thorn in the side, so that it focuses with us on the human sufferance rather than on the aftertaste of Brunello di Montalcino.
Marco Crescenzi | President
Picture: Z. Bauman, taken by Narodowy Instytut Audiowizualny’ from Wroclaw in Poland