Bauman and contemporary sociology

A critical analysis

By Ali Rattansi

Bauman and contemporary sociology
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  • ISBN: 9781526127945
  • Publish Date: Aug 2017
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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  • ISBN: 9781526105875
  • Publish Date: Jul 2017
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    Book Information

    • Format: Paperback
    • ISBN: 978-1-5261-0587-5
    • Pages: 344
    • Price: £19.99
    • Published Date: July 2017


    This is the first single-authored critical engagement with the major works of Zygmunt Bauman. Where previous books on Bauman have been exegetical, here an unwavering light is shone on key themes in the sociologist's work, exposing serious weaknesses in Bauman's interpretations of the Holocaust, Western modernity, consumerism, globalisation and the nature of sociology. The book shows how Eurocentrism, the neglect of issues of gender and a lack of awareness of the racism faced by Europe's non-white ethnic minorities seriously limit Bauman's analyses of Western societies. At the same time, it points to Bauman's repeated insistence on the need for sociologists to take a moral stance in favour of the world's poor and downtrodden as being his most valuable legacy. The book will be of great interest to sociologists. Its readability will be valued by undergraduates and postgraduates and it will attract a readership well beyond the discipline.


    'This is really the first sustained, comprehensive, critical engagement with Bauman's work and as such it stands alone. The book will be valued for showing how Bauman's work serves as a powerful lens through which to make sense of the times in which we live, as well as take stock of important aspects of sociology's development from the late twentieth century and the discipline's potential to contribute to the possibility of progressive alternatives to contemporary forms of social life.'
    Barry Smart, Professor of Sociology, University of Portsmouth

    'Zygmunt Bauman was one of the sharpest and most insightful critics of our liquid modern times. This major new work extends many of Bauman's core arguments while at the same time addressing their underlying limits. It is a must-read for anyone interested in what social science can be and do in the current post-crisis situation.'
    Nicholas Gane, Professor of Sociology, University of Warwick

    'This book will prove to be one of the best critical evaluations of Bauman's important work. In his usual insightful and nuanced analysis, Rattansi illuminates Bauman's great contributions to our understanding of twentieth- and twenty-first-century social realities, while at the same time pointing out some of the basic limitations of his approach. A must-read for every sociologist seeking to understand contemporary global reality.'
    Nira Yuval-Davis, Director of the Centre for Research on Migration, Refugees and Belonging, University of East London

    'Rattansi offers a remarkably comprehensive survey. readers come tounderstand what Bauman was: not a systematic theorist, not an empiricalsociologist, but a social philosopher who left enduring insights.'
    P. Kivisto, AugustanaCollege (IL), Choice,May 2018

    'Rattansi's discussion is a model of clarity and erudition'
    Michael Strand, Brandeis University, Social Forces

    'Rattansi has written a well-informed assessment of Bauman's writings that provides an excellent critical introduction to this author. Bauman and Con-temporary Sociology is therefore recommended not despite, but rather because of, its judgmental slant.'
    Sandro Segre, University of Genoa, Contemporary Sociology: A Journal of Reviews


    Part I: The dark side of modernity
    The question of modernity
    Modernity and the Enlightenment
    Bauman on the Enlightenment and modernity
    The Holocaust's modernity
    The ambivalences of modernity: a preliminary interrogation of Bauman's Eurocentric, white, male gaze
    Part II: Living with postmodernity
    Modernism and postmodernism
    Legislators and Interpreters: extending the critique of Bauman's first exposition of postmodernity and postmodernism
    Sociology and postmodernity
    Aspects of Bauman's sociology of postmodernity: a critical commentary
    Postmodern ethics: Bauman's Levinasian turn
    Part III: Floating, slipping, sliding, drowning, boiling and freezing: the perils of liquid life
    Why had Bauman become a postmodernist?
    The whys and wherefores of the demise of postmodernism
    'Liquid' modernity vs 'reflexive' modernity: Bauman's problem of agency, again
    'Metaphoricity' in Bauman's sociology
    On the liquid metaphor: what is this liquid in 'liquid modernity'?
    'Solid' modernity
    'Liquid' writing and liquid modernity: some ethical considerations
    Liquid modernity: the bare essentials
    Aspects of liquid modernity: critical reflections
    Conclusion: a sociologist of hope or a prophet of gloom?


    Ali Rattansi was Professor and is now Visiting Professor of Sociology at City, University of London. His many books include Marx and the Division of Labour, Postmodernism and Society and the Oxford University Press Very Short Introductions to Racism and Multiculturalism.

    Bauman and contemporary sociology

    By Ali Rattansi

    Paperback £19.99 / $29.95

    Hardcover £80.00 / $120.00

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