1992 Mortality, immortality, and other life strategies. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.
For Bauman, common knowledge about death, which he considers is provoked by a universal awareness of mortality, offers the inspiration and the catalytic for cultural creativity, and the drive behind transcendence. Bauman suggests that “culture is about expanding temporal and spatial boundaries of being, with a view to dismantling them altogether… the first activity of culture relates to survival-pushing back the moment of death, extending the life-span” (5). Bauman considers that the same awareness of mortality pushes the cultural production of the notion of immortality; he says, “Mortality is ours without asking-but immortality is something we must build ourselves. Immortality is not a mere absence of death; it is defiance and denial of death” (7). Therefore, the social and cultural production of immortality is the central foundation of life’s meaning, producing the conversion of biological death into a cultural object, which in turn “offers the primary building material for social institutions and behavioral patterns crucial to the reproduction of societies in their distinctive forms” (9). Bauman finds two key strategies to deal with death and dying, “the modern strategy”, which dismantles mortality by overcoming the unsolvable issue of death into many particular problems of health and illness, which are “soluble in theory”; and “the postmodern strategy”, which dismantles immortality through transformation of life into a regular preparation for “reversible death”, a change of “temporary disappearance” for the irreversible end of life.