The Sociology of Zygmunt Bauman
Challenges and Critique
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Zygmunt Bauman is one of the most inspirational and controversial thinkers on the scene of contemporary sociology. For several decades he has provided compelling analyses and diagnoses of a vast variety of aspects of modern and liquid modern living. This book considers the theoretical significance of his contribution to sociology, but also discusses and adopts a critical stance towards his work. The Sociology of Zygmunt Bauman introduces and critically appraises some of the most significant as well as some of the lesser known of Bauman's contributions to contemporary sociology. An international team of scholars delineates and discusses how Bauman's treatment of these themes challenges conventional wisdom in sociology, thereby revising and revitalizing sociological theory. As a special feature, the book concludes with Bauman's intriguing reflections and contemplations on his own life and intellectual trajectory, published here for the first time in English. In this postscript aptly entitled 'Pro Domo Sua' ('About Myself'), he describes the pushes and pulls that throughout the years have shaped his thinking.
Table of Contents
Contents: Introduction: the sociology of Zygmunt Bauman - challenge and critique, Michael Hviid Jacobsen and Poul Poder. Part 1 Methodological Issues: Bauman on metaphors - a harbinger of humanistic hybrid sociology, Michael Hviid Jacobsen and Sophia Marshman; Bauman on ambivalence - fully acknowledging the ambiguity of ambivalence, Matthias Junge. Part 2 Ethics: Bauman on ethics - intimate ethics for a global world?, Manni Crone; Bauman on genocide - modernity and mass murder: from classification to annihilation?, Sophia Marshman. Part 3 Social Integration: Bauman on freedom - consumer freedom as the integration mechanism of liquid society, Poul Poder; Bauman on consumerism - living the marked-mediated life, Tony Blackshaw; Bauman on globalization - the human consequences of a liquid world, Mark Davis; Bauman on strangers - unwanted peculiarities, Niclas MÃ¥nsson. Part 4 Politics: Bauman on politics - stillborn democracy, Mikael Carleheden; Bauman on power - from 'solid' to 'light'?, Robert Campain; Bauman on Utopia - welcome to the hunting zone, Michael Hviid Jacobsen. Postscript: Bauman on Bauman - pro domo sua, Zygmunt Bauman; Index.
Michael Hviid Jacobsen is Chair of Sociology at the University of Aalborg, Denmark and is Co-Editor of Dansk Sociologi and Acta Sociologica. Poul Poder is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark.
’Zygmunt Bauman’s reception remains a puzzle, in part because of the continental lineage of his thinking, his thinking in metaphors, and his work across other traditions; his conversation being problem-oriented rather than systematic. This volume brings together established and newer voices among his followers who pursue these themes and orientations into the field of sociology in its broadest sense, resulting in a defence and extension of Bauman’s commitment to European and critical sociology which connects with the problems it actually speaks to - a major achievement.’ Peter Beilharz, La Trobe University, Australia ’Zygmunt Bauman is the most important contemporary sociologist. Jacobsen and Poder have brought together a refreshing and enthusiastic range of contributions that at once establishes Bauman’s importance, explains his arguments and opens the way for future debates. This book is essential - and valuable - reading for anyone who is interested in the stakes and future of sociology.’ Keith Tester, University of Portsmouth, UK ’Zygmunt Bauman is one of the world’s foremost social theorists. This collection of critically appreciative essays succeeds triumphantly by eschewing exposition and a biographical framework in favour of a thoroughly sociological classification of themes. Each contribution offers a wide-ranging discussion and a critical judgment that compels attention. Their appearance together may well turn out to mark the moment when Bauman studies came of age.’ Ian Varcoe, University of Leeds, UK