“Disposable lives or wasted people are those for whom there is no room or place in that good society and social order…But why is this so? Why is it that modernity continues to produce redundant people?” Zygmunt Bauman

Launched in January 2014, the histories of violence “Disposable Life” project interrogates the meaning of mass violence and human destruction in the 21st Century. Inviting critical reflections from renowned public intellectuals, artists and writers, this three year project will feature a series of monthly filmed reflections from our illustrious list of participants (see contributors below); a subsequent feature film for public broadcast; accompanying book of complementary essays and associated publications/media articles; along with a series of global events that will bring together the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences to offer innovative and publicly engaging forums to inform debate and rethink the ideals of global citizenship.

We are honoured that the third contribution to our reflections series is provided by the renowned sociologist Zygmunt Bauman. Forcing us to consider how the production of “disposable lives” at a systematic level is entirely in fitting with contemporary societies, Bauman argues how liberal modernity, in fact, is yet another chapter in the story of the production of “disposable humans” (what he also terms in the reflection “collateral victims”), retaining the two defining and notably modern preoccupations: order building and economic progress. 


*Official Imagery for the Disposable Life Project: Gottfried Helnwein, “I Walk Alone”. All copyright and reproduction rights reserved by artist. For details on the artist works visit the official site by clicking here

The Project


“Mass violence is poorly understood if it simply refers to casualties on battlefields or continues to be framed through conventional notions of warfare. We need to interrogate the multiple ways in which entire populations are rendered disposable on a daily basis if we are to take seriously the meaning of global citizenship in the 21st Century”. More details of the project are available here

Full Lectures


Our inaugural lecture to the project was provided by celebrated feminist scholar Cynthia Enloe. Coming soon will be reflections from Zygmunt Bauman, Gayatri Spivak, Henry A. Giroux, Jean Franco, Slavoj Zizek, Etienne Balibar, Griselda Pollock, Jake Chapman, Richard Sennett, Gottfried Helnwein and David Theo Goldberg to name a few. All released productions can be viewed here

Contributor Biographies

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Confirmed participants for the film series will further include amongst others, Gil Anidjar, Coco Fusco, Nancy Fraser, Carol Gluck, Lewis Gordon, Jane Gordon, Gregg Lambert, Rozena Maart, Achille Mbembe, Adrian Parr, Anyana Roy, Saskia Sassen, Max Silverman & Cary Wolfe. Full biographies of all the projects contributors are available here

Our Partners

Our project is made possible by the shared contributions of our committed partners which includes: The Global Insecurities Centre, University of Bristol; The Committee on Global Thought, Columbia University, New York; The Perpetual Peace Project; The Central New York Humanities Corridor; TAFT Research Centre, University of Cincinnati; McMaster Centre for Scholarship in Public Interest, Ontario; 3CT Centre for Critical and Cultural Theory, Rice University; University California Humanities Research Institute; & The Centre for Critical Research on Race & Identity, University of Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa.

Books & Articles

Over the lifetime of our project we will be producing a number of complimentary volumes and academic articles. Our current list will include an edited book by Brad Evans & Adrian Parr titled “Disposable Life” (forthcoming, 2015); edited special edition by Brad Evans & Keith Tester on “Hiroshima and Cultural Theory” to be published in Thesis Eleven (forthcoming, 2015); along with co-written monograph by Brad Evans & Henry A. Giroux titled “Beyond the Spectacle of Violence” (forthcoming, 2015). Details of each of these publications will be made available here upon release.

Events & Press

All public events and press articles related to the project in prominent sources are listed and linked here.

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Recommended Readings 

Cruel Modernity
Whilst the framing of the debate on mass violence in terms of disposability offers the potential to develop a new critical angle of vision, opening up the possibility for trans-disciplinary mediation and engagement, it must be acknowledged that a number of pioneering works already produced by our contributors have inspired and continue to inform this project. Although by no means extensive, we have listed here some of the most relevant and notable for further reading and to assist in the development of teaching portfolios. Click here


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