Zygmunt Bauman

Zygmunt Bauman : Prophet of Postmodernity

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In this major new book, Dennis Smith provides a clear introduction to the work of Zygmunt Bauman and sets the agenda for future discussions of this controversial and challenging social thinker.Over the last decade, Bauman has developed a powerful and distinctive analysis of the human condition in the postmodern age. He has analysed the moral dilemmas, emotional torments, social pressures and political choices that are set to plague us in the future. But where does Bauman's vision come from? How convincing is it? And what is Bauman's distinctive contribution to our understanding of ourselves? This wide-ranging and accessible book provides the answers to these questions.Smith shows that the central themes in Bauman's recent analyses of modernity and postmodernity were already present in his early writings. He traces strong links between Bauman the Polish dissident intellectual under a communist regime in the 1960s and Bauman the prophet of postmodernity in the capitalist West during the 1980s and 1990s. The book offers more than just analysis and assessment, though, as Smith enters into a lively correspondence with Bauman, exchanging views on such topics as the nature of history, morality, postmodernity, risk and globalization. This valuable introduction will be of interest to second-year undergraduates and above in sociology, philosophy, politics and cultural studies.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 264 pages
  • 154 x 230 x 26mm | 498.96g
  • Polity Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0
  • 0745618987
  • 9780745618982

Table of contents

Preface. Part I: Setting the Agenda: 1. Living Without a Guidebook. 2. No Easy Choices. 3. Who is Zygmunt Bauman? 4. The Power of the Past. Part II: The Road to Postmodernity: 5. The Road to the West. 6. The Road to Utopia. 7. The Road to the Berlin Wall. 8. The Trilogy. 9. Bauman's Vision of Modernity and Postmodernity. Part III: Dialogue: 10. Between Critical Theory and Post-Structuralism. The ambivalence of criticism. 11. A Correspondence between Zygmunt Bauman and Dennis Smith. First letter. Second letter. Third letter. Fourth letter. Fifth letter. Bibliography. Index.show more

About Dennis Smith

Dennis Smith is Professor of Sociology at Loughborough University, and the author of many books, including The Rise of Historical Sociology (Polity Press, 1991)show more

Review quote

'Dennis Smith has provided by far the most comprehensive, critical overview of perhaps the foremost theorist of postmodernity. By situating Bauman's ideas in relation to other contemporary theorists, Smith's volume will be a wonderful text for both students and professors.' Steven Seidman, author of Contested Knowledge: Social theory in the postmodern era 'This superb introduction to the thought of one of the leading contemporary social theorists is both comprehensive, entirely reliable and written in a clear and approachable manner. This is the book Bauman's many admirers have been waiting for, and it will undoubtedly swell their numbers.' William Outhwaite, University of Sussex 'A very accessible introduction.' Choice 'This book is both an introduction to the main themes of Bauman's work and an intellectual biography. Smith is clear, unpretentious, and unfailingly accurate, with a remarkably sound eye for what is significant and what is not, and for what will maintain the book's narrative drive. As a guide for the perplexed or just plain curious it could hardly be bettered.' British Journal of Sociology 'Dennis Smith's book is part of Polity's series of Key Contemporary Thinkers, and on this evidence it is shaping up to be a worthwhile set of texts. He has not written a "Beginner's Guide to Bauman", but rather an in-depth piece of work which includes some lengthy correspondence with Bauman.' Contemporary Politicsshow more

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