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Conversations with Zygmunt Bauman

ISBN: 978-0-7456-2664-2
176 pages
August 2001, Polity
Conversations with Zygmunt Bauman (0745626645) cover image
Zygmunt Bauman is one of the leading figures in contemporary social thought. His work ranges across issues of ethics, culture and politics. It never forgets that social thought ought to help men and women make sense of their lives and aspire towards something different. His books and essays always focus on the here and now: violence and moral indifference, globalization, consumerism, politics and individualization. They cast a sharp eye on the panaceas of ‘there is no alternative'; the embrace of community and the fads of the ‘counselling boom'; through which men and women are told that they can achieve biographical solutions to what are, in fact, systemic problems.

In this new book, Zygmunt Bauman and Keith Tester engage in five accessible conversations that uncover and explore the assumptions and commitments underpinning Bauman's ground-breaking social thought. The conversations show how those commitments have influenced Bauman's analyses of modernity, postmodernity and ‘liquid modernity'. The book ranges widely, from autobiographical reflection through to pointers for the understanding and future of Bauman's social thought. The conversations illustrate the moral substance of Bauman's refusal to accept that the world cannot be made different. They show why social thought is a human necessity.

Conversations with Zygmunt Bauman is a book which will offer fresh insight into Bauman's work for those who are familiar with it, and provide an engaging and helpful entry point for those who are new to it.

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Conversation 1: Context and Sociological Horizons.

Conversation 2: Ethics and Human Values.

Conversation 3: The Ambivalence of Modernity.

Conversation 4: Individualization and Consumer Society.

Conversation 5: Politics.



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Zygmunt Bauman is Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the Universities of Leeds and Warsaw

Keith Tester is Professor of Social Theory, University of Portsmouth

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  • A unique and incisive set of interviews with one of the world's leading social thinkers

  • Gives important background on the assumptions underpinning Bauman's work

With an introduction by Keith Tester that helps to contextualize Bauman's work

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'Zygmunt Bauman is a rare intellectual. He does not like to talk about himself except via the byways, the work of others and the problems of the world. Keith Tester is a fine interlocutor who knows how to draw Bauman out. The result is a fascinating series of conversations. This is a book to press against the future, a book for tomorrow. Peter Beilharz, Thesis Eleven, La Trobe University

It is very readable. It provides a clear introduction to Bauman's ideas in a much more concise and open style than is otherwise possible ploughing through his volumous works. As such it is to be highly recomendable" Gary Pattison, University of Southampton, Network

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