Zygmunt Bauman

Zygmunt Bauman : Prophet of Postmodernity

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Description

In this major new assessment of Zygmunt Bauman's work, Smith gives a clear introduction to this controversial and challenging sociologist.show more

Product details

  • Electronic book text | 264 pages
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
  • Polity Press
  • United Kingdom
  • 0745668836
  • 9780745668833

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

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

Table of contents

Preface x Part I Setting the Agenda 1 Living Without a Guidebook 3 Introduction 3 Critical perspectives 3 Sociology plus 5 What is modernity? 6 What is postmodernity? 9 Why Bauman is worth reading 14 The myth of the cage-dwellers 16 The rest of this book 18 2 No Easy Choices 20 Culture, choice and sociology 20 Bauman's vision 23 Bauman's career and intellectual influences: a brief overview 27 3 Who is Zygmunt Bauman? 33 Faith, hope and charity 33 The roots of wisdom 34 Bauman's agenda 35 A brief biography 38 Transitions 41 Puzzles 43 Anti-Semitism and Bauman 43 Neither insider nor outsider 44 Marx and the art of motorcycle maintenance 45 4 The Power of the Past 48 Discovering postmodernity 48 From priest to prophet 50 Out of Poland 52 A sociology for strangers 56 Part II The Road to Postmodernity 5 The Road to the West 61 Keeping on the road 61 An unexpected discovery 62 Intellectuals and innovation 64 Bauman, Galbraith and Mill 66 Modern times, modern Marxism 67 Between Class and Elite 69 Polish peasants and politics 71 Conclusion 75 6 The Road to Utopia 77 Mechanisms of social change 77 Culture as Praxis 77 Towards a Critical Sociology 80 Socialism: the active utopia 85 Hermeneutics and Social Science 89 Conclusion 94 7 The Road to the Berlin Wall 98 Switching routes 98 Solidarity 99 Memories of Class 101 Freedom 105 After communism 109 Conclusion 110 8 The Trilogy 113 Three narratives 113 Legislators and Interpreters 114 Cruelty, dehumanization and estrangement 120 Modernity and the Holocaust 122 Modernity and Ambivalence 130 Conclusion 134 9 Bauman's Vision of Modernity and Postmodernity 136 Elaborating the vision 136 Tending the garden 136 Discipline and sacrifice 138 The costs of modernity 142 Contradictions of modernity 143 The postmodern perspective 147 The postmodern habitat 150 The broader context 152 Three aspects of postmodernity 153 Postmodernization 155 Globalization 156 Seduction and repression 156 Cognitive, aesthetic and moral space 158 The stranger 161 I and the Other 163 The role of the sociologist 165 Part III Dialogue 10 Between Critical Theory and Poststructuralism 169 The ambivalence of criticism 169 The journey from modernity to postmodernity 170 Adorno and Habermas 171 Foucault and Lyotard 178 Enlightenment values 184 11 A Correspondence between Zygmunt Bauman and Dennis Smith 188 First letter 188 Second letter 191 Third letter 198 Fourth letter 203 Fifth letter 213 Notes 221 Bibliography 231 Index 239show more

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