Ciències Socials

Zygmunt Bauman

Ahir, 9 de gener, va morir Zygmunt Bauman , un dels sociòlegs contemporanis amb més fama i reconeixement mundials. Nascut a Polònia l’any 1925, d’origen jueu, durant les darreres dues dècades de la seva vida va adquirir fama mundial, sobretot arran de la seva conceptualització de la “modernitat líquida”, en el marc de l’estudi de la modernitat, la postmodernitat i la globalització. També és conegut per les seves aportacions sobre l’holocaust, el socialisme i el consumisme, entre d’altres.

zygmunt_bauman_fot-_m-_oliva_soto_6144135392Com a bon sociòleg, la seva obra traspassa les estrictes i acadèmiques fronteres de la sociologia per barrejar-se amb la història, la filosofia o la ciència política. Bauman també és un bon escriptor que ha mostrat tenir un dels dons més valuosos de l’escriptura literària: la capacitat de generar metàfores que donen forma (imatge) a l’abstracció i la gràcia de fer de la manera de descriure la realitat social una motiu més d’interès. A aquesta capacitat narrativa se li ha de sumar un enorme coneixement de la tradició literària, filosòfica i humanística, en general, de la cultura occidental. És un plaer intel·lectual llegir els seus llibres.

Bauman és, com hem dit, un sociòleg i, per tant, el seu centre d’interès ha estat la modernitat i els seus efectes. La sociologia és filla de la modernitat i, com a tal, una constant reflexió per comprendre les causes d’aquest moment de la història occidental que anomenem modernitat, així com les conseqüències socials i personals que aquesta modernitat té en les consciències dels individus. Així doncs, no és d’estranyar que el centre d’interès de Bauman siguin alguns dels temes que vertebren i que millor descriuen aquest “huracà” que ha sacsejat formes de vida i consciències, comunitats humanes i països, estructures econòmiques, polítiques i societats.

Bauman esdevingué un sociòleg enormement popular, fins al punt que la premsa l’ha titllat d’estrella pop de la sociologia. La fama li va arribar gràcies al fet d’haver encunyat el concepte de “modernitat líquida” i d’aplicar la “liquiditat” a moltes dimensions de la vida social contemporània: temps líquids, vida líquida, por líquida, amor líquid, art líquid, etc

L’èxit d’aquest concepte va lligat a la seva capacitat per descriure algunes de les característiques i amenaces de la modernitat [afegim al final un excursos amb una caracterització del concepte]. No hi ha sociòleg que no hagi intentat trobar la clau de volta per entendre la modernitat i allò que més la caracteritza: Weber i la racionalització, Durkheim i l’anomia, Parsons i la funció social, Pareto i la idea de desigualtat-redistribució, Luhmann i la teoria de sistemes, Giddens i l’estructuració, Beck i la societat del risc, Sennett i la caiguda de l’home públic o la corrosió del caràcter, Castells i la societat de la informació, Sassen i la ciutat global. I tants com volguéssim afegir. Totes aquestes teories i explicacions apunten cap un món en què l’acceleració dels temps, la globalització i la pluralització –dos conceptes sociològics més!- configuren societats cada com més complexes. Karl Marx, fa 150 anys, pronosticava o, millor, sentenciava: tot el que es sòlid s’esvaeix en l’aire. Certament, també els conceptes i teories sociològiques tenen, com els temps que corren, data de caducitat. El de Bauman, però, ha estat dels més exitosos.

El llegat de Bauman, com a pensador i sociòleg, no s’esgota amb aquest concepte de “modernitat líquida”. Cal ressaltar de Bauman les seves anàlisis sobre la societat globalitzada i el consumisme i les conseqüències que això té en la vida de les persones (que es veuen reduïdes a articles de consum o a individus “sobrants”) [Trabajo, consumismo y nuevos pobres, La postmodernidad y sus descontentos, La globalización: Consecuencias humanas, Vidas desperdiciadas: La modernidad y sus paries, Identidad, Vida de consumo, etc.]

Si hagués de destacar un llibre d’entre el gairebé centenar que ha publicat Buaman, el meu gust personal recomanaria la lectura del llibre Societat assetjada (2002: Society Under Siege. Cambridge: Polity). En aquest llibre es recullen bona part de les seves idees centrals (que desenvoluparà en altres escrits) sobre el que caracteritza les nostres societats contemporànies i s’apunten moltes de les conseqüències individuals d’aquests mons de vida. Vivim personalment i busquem solucions individuals, biogràfiques, al que són en realitat problemes estructurals i sistèmics. Ens manca, en definitiva, el que Wright Mills havia batejat com a imaginació sociològica.

Hem de reconèixer a l’obra de Bauman el seu valor per entendre les societats en què vivim, però també la seva capacitat de fer-nos crítics davant de les amenaces i conseqüències d’aquestes societats líquides, i de posar en dubte les nostres actituds sovint passives. Zygmunt Bauman i la seva colossal obra ens esperonen a cercar un món i una vida millors.

“Como es sabido, los obstáculos para el compromiso efectivo a largo plazo son muy numerosos, y muchos de ellos son imposibles de sortear. Podría argumentarse, sin embargo, que la barrera más difícil de franquear es la desigualdad del proceso de globalización. El progresivo engranaje de las dependencias globales no encuentra parangón, y menos aún control o equilibrio, en instrumentos de acción política igualmente globales y poderosos. Las protestas “antiglobalización” difusas y esporádicas, por más valientes y decididas que sean, no son rival para el poder concentrado de las multinacionales, cuidado y protegido a sol y a sombra por los gobiernos en busca de un premio a su hospitalidad y por las fuerzas armadas hasta los dientes que comandan. Para remover esta barrera, no bastaría con tener una visión mejor. Pero al menos eso sería (para usar la memorable frase de Churchill) “el final del principio”. (Bauman)

 

Excursus: Què vol dir “societat líquida”?

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El concepte “societat líquida” i la idea de “líquid” aplicada a la por, a l’amor, a les relacions personals, etc., ha estat posat en circulació pel sociòleg Zigmunt Bauman. L’èxit de la metàfora “vida líquida” ha sigut tan enorme que gairebé podríem dir que forma part del vocabulari quotidià per parlar de la societat contemporània. Tractem de definir què és exactament el que Bauman entén per societat líquida i quins són, segons aquest autor, algunes de les seves conseqüències. Vegem.

“La Societat moderna líquida és aquella en què les condicions d’actuació  dels seus membres canvien abans que les formes d’actuar es consolidin en uns hàbits i en una rutina determinades” (Bauman, Vida líquida)

Així definida, el que fa líquida a una societat és la impossibilitat que els seus membres puguin tenir rutines i hàbits de comportament. També podríem interpretar que s’està impedint la consolidació de les institucions i, en aquest mateix procés, dificultant la producció de sentit, del sentit de l’acció social i, en definitiva, de la vida social.

Abans de passar a les conseqüències d’aquestes “fluides” (i no estables) condicions de l’acció social, les que no ens permeten rutinitzar i objectivar els comportaments, ressaltaré la importància de la rutina en la vida de les persones. I de les institucions en la vida social.

Tota activitat humana tendeix a convertir-se en un hàbit (Berger i Luckmann, La construcció social de la realitat). Aquesta afirmació és fonamental per entendre la nostra condició humana doncs, segurament, aquesta necessitat de rutines té a veure amb el nostre equipament biològic. La repetició (bàsica en tot procés d’aprenentatge) genera pautes que faciliten la reproducció dels comportaments. Les accions que esdevenen hàbits són significatives per als individus, ja que són la transformació en “rutines” de coneixements i accions que han estat posades a prova en el passat i ens faciliten les accions futures. Són significatives. A més, ens permet reduir la pluralitat d’accions possibles amb un clar benefici en termes d’adequació al medi i de benestar psicològic. La rutina evita estar constantment redefinint la situació. Els comportaments reeixits, rutines i hàbits, són imitats per altres individus i acaben formant part del patrimoni social. La majoria dels problemes a què ens enfrontem (ens recorda també Berger i Luckmann en Modernitat, pluralisme i crisi de sentit) afloren alhora en les vides d’altres persones i les solucions que donem són “intersubjectivament” rellevants, és a dir, significatives per a molts.

De fet, estem parlant de les institucions socials, enteses com a reserves de sentit socialment objectivat i processat. Les institucions, que són hàbits objectivats, ens alliberen d’estar constantment buscant solucions als problemes que ens planteja el món.

La societat líquida fa difícil, per no dir impossible, aquesta rutina i consolidació de l’experiència. Just quan comencem a acostumar-nos a un nou context social, quan comencem a “aprendre” com tractar-nos amb les noves realitats … ja han començat a canviar!. La tecnologia digital seria una mena de súmmum d’aquesta situació. Vegem algunes de les conseqüències de la societat líquida.

1. La ràpida dissolució del patrimoni o patrimoni cultural ens impedeix predir tendències futures i adaptar o ajustar el nostre comportament a l’esdevenir. Així, té sentit parlar també, amb una altra metàfora d’èxit (aquesta d’Ulrich Beck), de societat del risc. Els nostres rutines, si arribem a produir alguna, queden molt aviat obsoletes i no compleixen amb la seva funció d’ajudar-nos a reduir la complexitat i prendre decisions encertades (en el sentit d’actuar en una o altra direcció). Cada vegada hi ha més opcions (de vida) davant nostre, més possibilitats d’elecció. La probabilitat d’equivocar-s’incrementa per la falta d’hàbits en els quals afermar la nostra acció.

2. Precarietat de la vida líquida. La vida líquida es viu en unes condicions d’incertesa constant doncs, com hem dit, s’han buidat els dipòsits de sentit de la nostra acció social (institucions) i hem d’estar adoptant constantment solucions biogràfiques (personals, individuals) davant el que se’ns ve sobre, que per norma general no són problemes personals sinó socials i sistèmics, com a Bauman li agrada subratllar.

3. La vida líquida és una successió de nous començaments. Aquesta és també una característica, segons Bauman, de la societat de consum: una vida marcada per la possibilitat de nous començaments. I com a conseqüència d’això, una vida marcada per nombrosos, breus i indolors finals. Per exemple, posar fi a les múltiples relacions (afectives, eròtiques, professionals, lúdiques, etc.) que tenen lloc al llarg de la vida és un dels desafiaments més grans amb què ens hem d’enfrontar i, segons el parer de Bauman , una de les nostres majors preocupacions. Ens resulta més difícil desfer-nos de les coses que adquirir de noves, d’aquí, diu el nostre autor, que hi hagi tants experts en relacions de parella.

4. Una conseqüència del que acabem de dir és la producció de residus. La vida líquida produeix molts residus i és clau per a la nostra supervivència (com a individus i com a societat) saber-los eliminar. És molt important no formar part d’aquestes deixalles o productes sobrants (en el lloc de treball, en les relacions personals … en definitiva, a la societat de consum). Es parla en termes de “eliminació creativa”, però el resultat -diu Bauman- és que ens estem carregant formes de vides i, al cap i a la fi, als éssers que les practiquen. Sobre aquest tema, em remeto a la idea-metàfora de “vides sobrants” o “deixalles humans” (com a crítica, és clar, al consumisme). Una altra conseqüència d’això és que hem de reinventar-nos constantment com a objectes de consum (i, per tant, de desig).

5. La vida líquida no té moments de repòs. La vida no pot aturar-se, alentir-se. Hi ha qui es refereix a això com modernització, creixement, innovació.

[Cada vegada són més les reflexions que ens adverteixen dels perills d’aquesta “acceleració”. Em refereixo només a dues:
– Byung-Chul Han (2016) L’aroma del temps. Un assaig filosòfic sobre l’art de demorar-se. Barcelona: Herder.

– Hartmut Rosa Acceleració. El canvi de les estructures temporals en la Modernitat.]

 

  1. I per acabar: Identitats “collage” (o pastitx). La identitat també es veu afectada en la vida líquida. De fet, la columna vertebral d’allò que som (i que anomenem identitat individual) està feta dels habitus que ens configuren i dels rols que adoptem (com a incorporació del social-institucional dins nostre). No és fàcil fer encaixar constantment tots els “kits” d’identitat que ens ofereix la societat consumista, ni resistir-se a la temptació dels nous principis.

51 comments

  1. If you’re still on the fence: grab your favorite earphones, head down to a Best Buy and ask to plug them into a Zune then an iPod and see which one sounds better to you, and which interface makes you smile more. Then you’ll know which is right for you.

  2. Hands down, Apple’s app store wins by a mile. It’s a huge selection of all sorts of apps vs a rather sad selection of a handful for Zune. Microsoft has plans, especially in the realm of games, but I’m not sure I’d want to bet on the future if this aspect is important to you. The iPod is a much better choice in that case.

  3. The Zune concentrates on being a Portable Media Player. Not a web browser. Not a game machine. Maybe in the future it’ll do even better in those areas, but for now it’s a fantastic way to organize and listen to your music and videos, and is without peer in that regard. The iPod’s strengths are its web browsing and apps. If those sound more compelling, perhaps it is your best choice.

  4. The new Zune browser is surprisingly good, but not as good as the iPod’s. It works well, but isn’t as fast as Safari, and has a clunkier interface. If you occasionally plan on using the web browser that’s not an issue, but if you’re planning to browse the web alot from your PMP then the iPod’s larger screen and better browser may be important.

  5. Apple now has Rhapsody as an app, which is a great start, but it is currently hampered by the inability to store locally on your iPod, and has a dismal 64kbps bit rate. If this changes, then it will somewhat negate this advantage for the Zune, but the 10 songs per month will still be a big plus in Zune Pass’ favor.

  6. Zune and iPod: Most people compare the Zune to the Touch, but after seeing how slim and surprisingly small and light it is, I consider it to be a rather unique hybrid that combines qualities of both the Touch and the Nano. It’s very colorful and lovely OLED screen is slightly smaller than the touch screen, but the player itself feels quite a bit smaller and lighter. It weighs about 2/3 as much, and is noticeably smaller in width and height, while being just a hair thicker.

  7. This is getting a bit more subjective, but I much prefer the Zune Marketplace. The interface is colorful, has more flair, and some cool features like ‘Mixview’ that let you quickly see related albums, songs, or other users related to what you’re listening to. Clicking on one of those will center on that item, and another set of “neighbors” will come into view, allowing you to navigate around exploring by similar artists, songs, or users. Speaking of users, the Zune “Social” is also great fun, letting you find others with shared tastes and becoming friends with them. You then can listen to a playlist created based on an amalgamation of what all your friends are listening to, which is also enjoyable. Those concerned with privacy will be relieved to know you can prevent the public from seeing your personal listening habits if you so choose.

  8. The new Zune browser is surprisingly good, but not as good as the iPod’s. It works well, but isn’t as fast as Safari, and has a clunkier interface. If you occasionally plan on using the web browser that’s not an issue, but if you’re planning to browse the web alot from your PMP then the iPod’s larger screen and better browser may be important.

  9. Zune and iPod: Most people compare the Zune to the Touch, but after seeing how slim and surprisingly small and light it is, I consider it to be a rather unique hybrid that combines qualities of both the Touch and the Nano. It’s very colorful and lovely OLED screen is slightly smaller than the touch screen, but the player itself feels quite a bit smaller and lighter. It weighs about 2/3 as much, and is noticeably smaller in width and height, while being just a hair thicker.

  10. The new Zune browser is surprisingly good, but not as good as the iPod’s. It works well, but isn’t as fast as Safari, and has a clunkier interface. If you occasionally plan on using the web browser that’s not an issue, but if you’re planning to browse the web alot from your PMP then the iPod’s larger screen and better browser may be important.

  11. The new Zune browser is surprisingly good, but not as good as the iPod’s. It works well, but isn’t as fast as Safari, and has a clunkier interface. If you occasionally plan on using the web browser that’s not an issue, but if you’re planning to browse the web alot from your PMP then the iPod’s larger screen and better browser may be important.

  12. I’ll gear this review to 2 types of people: current Zune owners who are considering an upgrade, and people trying to decide between a Zune and an iPod. (There are other players worth considering out there, like the Sony Walkman X, but I hope this gives you enough info to make an informed decision of the Zune vs players other than the iPod line as well.)

  13. Zune and iPod: Most people compare the Zune to the Touch, but after seeing how slim and surprisingly small and light it is, I consider it to be a rather unique hybrid that combines qualities of both the Touch and the Nano. It’s very colorful and lovely OLED screen is slightly smaller than the touch screen, but the player itself feels quite a bit smaller and lighter. It weighs about 2/3 as much, and is noticeably smaller in width and height, while being just a hair thicker.

  14. Apple now has Rhapsody as an app, which is a great start, but it is currently hampered by the inability to store locally on your iPod, and has a dismal 64kbps bit rate. If this changes, then it will somewhat negate this advantage for the Zune, but the 10 songs per month will still be a big plus in Zune Pass’ favor.

  15. The Zune concentrates on being a Portable Media Player. Not a web browser. Not a game machine. Maybe in the future it’ll do even better in those areas, but for now it’s a fantastic way to organize and listen to your music and videos, and is without peer in that regard. The iPod’s strengths are its web browsing and apps. If those sound more compelling, perhaps it is your best choice.

  16. Between me and my husband we’ve owned more MP3 players over the years than I can count, including Sansas, iRivers, iPods (classic & touch), the Ibiza Rhapsody, etc. But, the last few years I’ve settled down to one line of players. Why? Because I was happy to discover how well-designed and fun to use the underappreciated (and widely mocked) Zunes are.

  17. Hands down, Apple’s app store wins by a mile. It’s a huge selection of all sorts of apps vs a rather sad selection of a handful for Zune. Microsoft has plans, especially in the realm of games, but I’m not sure I’d want to bet on the future if this aspect is important to you. The iPod is a much better choice in that case.

  18. The new Zune browser is surprisingly good, but not as good as the iPod’s. It works well, but isn’t as fast as Safari, and has a clunkier interface. If you occasionally plan on using the web browser that’s not an issue, but if you’re planning to browse the web alot from your PMP then the iPod’s larger screen and better browser may be important.

  19. I’ll gear this review to 2 types of people: current Zune owners who are considering an upgrade, and people trying to decide between a Zune and an iPod. (There are other players worth considering out there, like the Sony Walkman X, but I hope this gives you enough info to make an informed decision of the Zune vs players other than the iPod line as well.)

  20. This is getting a bit more subjective, but I much prefer the Zune Marketplace. The interface is colorful, has more flair, and some cool features like ‘Mixview’ that let you quickly see related albums, songs, or other users related to what you’re listening to. Clicking on one of those will center on that item, and another set of “neighbors” will come into view, allowing you to navigate around exploring by similar artists, songs, or users. Speaking of users, the Zune “Social” is also great fun, letting you find others with shared tastes and becoming friends with them. You then can listen to a playlist created based on an amalgamation of what all your friends are listening to, which is also enjoyable. Those concerned with privacy will be relieved to know you can prevent the public from seeing your personal listening habits if you so choose.

  21. This is getting a bit more subjective, but I much prefer the Zune Marketplace. The interface is colorful, has more flair, and some cool features like ‘Mixview’ that let you quickly see related albums, songs, or other users related to what you’re listening to. Clicking on one of those will center on that item, and another set of “neighbors” will come into view, allowing you to navigate around exploring by similar artists, songs, or users. Speaking of users, the Zune “Social” is also great fun, letting you find others with shared tastes and becoming friends with them. You then can listen to a playlist created based on an amalgamation of what all your friends are listening to, which is also enjoyable. Those concerned with privacy will be relieved to know you can prevent the public from seeing your personal listening habits if you so choose.

  22. I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own weblog and was curious what all is required to get set up? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny? I’m not very web smart so I’m not 100 certain. Any recommendations or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you

  23. Hands down, Apple’s app store wins by a mile. It’s a huge selection of all sorts of apps vs a rather sad selection of a handful for Zune. Microsoft has plans, especially in the realm of games, but I’m not sure I’d want to bet on the future if this aspect is important to you. The iPod is a much better choice in that case.

  24. Zune and iPod: Most people compare the Zune to the Touch, but after seeing how slim and surprisingly small and light it is, I consider it to be a rather unique hybrid that combines qualities of both the Touch and the Nano. It’s very colorful and lovely OLED screen is slightly smaller than the touch screen, but the player itself feels quite a bit smaller and lighter. It weighs about 2/3 as much, and is noticeably smaller in width and height, while being just a hair thicker.

  25. The new Zune browser is surprisingly good, but not as good as the iPod’s. It works well, but isn’t as fast as Safari, and has a clunkier interface. If you occasionally plan on using the web browser that’s not an issue, but if you’re planning to browse the web alot from your PMP then the iPod’s larger screen and better browser may be important.

  26. Apple now has Rhapsody as an app, which is a great start, but it is currently hampered by the inability to store locally on your iPod, and has a dismal 64kbps bit rate. If this changes, then it will somewhat negate this advantage for the Zune, but the 10 songs per month will still be a big plus in Zune Pass’ favor.

  27. Zune and iPod: Most people compare the Zune to the Touch, but after seeing how slim and surprisingly small and light it is, I consider it to be a rather unique hybrid that combines qualities of both the Touch and the Nano. It’s very colorful and lovely OLED screen is slightly smaller than the touch screen, but the player itself feels quite a bit smaller and lighter. It weighs about 2/3 as much, and is noticeably smaller in width and height, while being just a hair thicker.

  28. Hands down, Apple’s app store wins by a mile. It’s a huge selection of all sorts of apps vs a rather sad selection of a handful for Zune. Microsoft has plans, especially in the realm of games, but I’m not sure I’d want to bet on the future if this aspect is important to you. The iPod is a much better choice in that case.

  29. Zune and iPod: Most people compare the Zune to the Touch, but after seeing how slim and surprisingly small and light it is, I consider it to be a rather unique hybrid that combines qualities of both the Touch and the Nano. It’s very colorful and lovely OLED screen is slightly smaller than the touch screen, but the player itself feels quite a bit smaller and lighter. It weighs about 2/3 as much, and is noticeably smaller in width and height, while being just a hair thicker.

  30. This is getting a bit more subjective, but I much prefer the Zune Marketplace. The interface is colorful, has more flair, and some cool features like ‘Mixview’ that let you quickly see related albums, songs, or other users related to what you’re listening to. Clicking on one of those will center on that item, and another set of “neighbors” will come into view, allowing you to navigate around exploring by similar artists, songs, or users. Speaking of users, the Zune “Social” is also great fun, letting you find others with shared tastes and becoming friends with them. You then can listen to a playlist created based on an amalgamation of what all your friends are listening to, which is also enjoyable. Those concerned with privacy will be relieved to know you can prevent the public from seeing your personal listening habits if you so choose.

  31. This is getting a bit more subjective, but I much prefer the Zune Marketplace. The interface is colorful, has more flair, and some cool features like ‘Mixview’ that let you quickly see related albums, songs, or other users related to what you’re listening to. Clicking on one of those will center on that item, and another set of “neighbors” will come into view, allowing you to navigate around exploring by similar artists, songs, or users. Speaking of users, the Zune “Social” is also great fun, letting you find others with shared tastes and becoming friends with them. You then can listen to a playlist created based on an amalgamation of what all your friends are listening to, which is also enjoyable. Those concerned with privacy will be relieved to know you can prevent the public from seeing your personal listening habits if you so choose.

  32. If you’re still on the fence: grab your favorite earphones, head down to a Best Buy and ask to plug them into a Zune then an iPod and see which one sounds better to you, and which interface makes you smile more. Then you’ll know which is right for you.

  33. Between me and my husband we’ve owned more MP3 players over the years than I can count, including Sansas, iRivers, iPods (classic & touch), the Ibiza Rhapsody, etc. But, the last few years I’ve settled down to one line of players. Why? Because I was happy to discover how well-designed and fun to use the underappreciated (and widely mocked) Zunes are.

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  35. This is getting a bit more subjective, but I much prefer the Zune Marketplace. The interface is colorful, has more flair, and some cool features like ‘Mixview’ that let you quickly see related albums, songs, or other users related to what you’re listening to. Clicking on one of those will center on that item, and another set of “neighbors” will come into view, allowing you to navigate around exploring by similar artists, songs, or users. Speaking of users, the Zune “Social” is also great fun, letting you find others with shared tastes and becoming friends with them. You then can listen to a playlist created based on an amalgamation of what all your friends are listening to, which is also enjoyable. Those concerned with privacy will be relieved to know you can prevent the public from seeing your personal listening habits if you so choose.

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  37. The new Zune browser is surprisingly good, but not as good as the iPod’s. It works well, but isn’t as fast as Safari, and has a clunkier interface. If you occasionally plan on using the web browser that’s not an issue, but if you’re planning to browse the web alot from your PMP then the iPod’s larger screen and better browser may be important.

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