Gilles Lipovetsky is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Grenoble (France). He is best known for his contribution to the development of so-called “postmodern” thought and for his work on the concepts of hypermodernity and hyperindividuality.
In his latest essays, Lipovetsky questions the concept of postmodernity: it is too ambiguous and therefore inadequate. Today’s reality of liberal societies is, in fact, a hypermodernity, a “superlative modernity” and unbridled modernity. All the old obstacles to modernisation have fallen and there is no longer any credible and legitimate alternative system to the supposedly free market and democratic modernity: we have reached the moment of complete, unrestricted, deregulated and globalised modernity.
For Lipovetsky, the society of hyper-consumption is a society of “paradoxical happiness” because, although most people declare themselves to be quite happy, there have never been so many depressions, so many feelings of misery, so many worries, so many anxieties. The society of hyper-consumption multiplies private enjoyment, but is incapable of promoting joie de vivre.