Zygmunt Bauman

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Zygmunt Bauman
Zigmunt Bauman na 20 Forumi vydavciv(Cropped).jpg
Bauman in 2014
Born(1925-11-19)19 November 1925
Poznań, Poland
Died9 January 2017(2017-01-09) (aged 91)
Leeds, West Riding of Yorkshire, England
Alma mater University of Warsaw
London School of Economics
School Continental philosophy  · Western Marxism
Main interests
Ethics · Political philosophy  · Sociology · Postmodernity  · Postmodern art
Notable ideas
Modernity's struggle with ambiguity, resulting in the Holocaust  · postmodern ethics · critique of "liquid" modernity  · liquid fear

Zygmunt Bauman ( /ˈbmən/ ; 19 November 1925 – 9 January 2017) was a Polish sociologist and philosopher. He was driven out of Poland by a political purge in 1968 engineered by the Communist government of the Polish People's Republic and forced to give up his Polish citizenship to move to Israel. Three years later he moved to the United Kingdom. He resided in England from 1971 and became Professor of Sociology at the University of Leeds, later Emeritus. Bauman was one of the world's most eminent social theorists, writing on issues as diverse as modernity and the Holocaust, postmodern consumerism and liquid modernity. [1]

Sociology Scientific study of human society and its origins, development, organizations, and institutions

Sociology is the study of society, patterns of social relationships, social interaction and culture of everyday life using the principles of psychology neuroscience and network science. It is a social science that uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about social order, acceptance, and change or social evolution. While some sociologists conduct research that may be applied directly to social policy and welfare, others focus primarily on refining the theoretical understanding of social processes. Subject matter ranges from the micro-sociology level of individual agency and interaction to the macro level of systems and the social structure.

Poland Republic in Central Europe

Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 administrative subdivisions, covering an area of 312,696 square kilometres (120,733 sq mi), and has a largely temperate seasonal climate. With a population of approximately 38.5 million people, Poland is the sixth most populous member state of the European Union. Poland's capital and largest metropolis is Warsaw. Other major cities include Kraków, Łódź, Wrocław, Poznań, Gdańsk, and Szczecin.

Polish Peoples Republic official name of Poland from 1952 to 1989

The Polish People's Republic was a country in Central Europe that existed from 1947 to 1989, and the predecessor of the modern democratic Republic of Poland. With a population of approximately 37.9 million inhabitants near the end of its existence, it was the most populous state of the Eastern Bloc after the Soviet Union. Having a unitary Marxist–Leninist communist government imposed by the Soviet Union following World War II, it was also one of the main signatories of the Warsaw Pact. The largest city and official capital since 1947 was Warsaw, followed by industrial Łódź and cultural Kraków.

Contents

Career

Bauman was born to non-observant Polish Jewish family in Poznań, Poland, in 1925. When Poland was invaded by Nazi Germany and by the Soviet Union, in 1939, his family escaped eastwards into the USSR. Bauman then enlisted in the Soviet-controlled First Polish Army, working as a political instructor. He took part in the battles of Kolberg (now Kołobrzeg) and of Berlin. In May 1945 he was awarded the Military Cross of Valour. After World War II he became one of the Polish Army's youngest majors.

History of the Jews in Poland spans the period 966 to present times

The history of the Jews in Poland dates back over 1,000 years. For centuries, Poland was home to the largest and most significant Jewish community in the world. Poland was a principal center of Jewish culture, thanks to a long period of statutory religious tolerance and social autonomy. This ended with the Partitions of Poland which began in 1772, in particular, with the discrimination and persecution of Jews in the Russian Empire. During World War II there was a nearly complete genocidal destruction of the Polish Jewish community by Nazi Germany and its collaborators, during the 1939–1945 German occupation of Poland and the ensuing Holocaust. Since the fall of communism in Poland, there has been a Jewish revival, featuring an annual Jewish Culture Festival, new study programs at Polish secondary schools and universities, the work of synagogues such as the Nożyk Synagogue, and Warsaw's Museum of the History of Polish Jews.

Poznań Capital City of Poznań in Greater Poland, Poland

Poznań is a city on the Warta River in west-central Poland, in the Greater Poland region and is the fifth-largest city in Poland. It is best known for its renaissance Old Town and Ostrów Tumski Cathedral. Today, Poznań is an important cultural and business centre and one of Poland's most populous regions with many regional customs such as Saint John's Fair, traditional Saint Martin's croissants and a local dialect.

Second Polish Republic 1918-1939 republic in Eastern Europe

The Second Polish Republic, commonly known as interwar Poland, refers to the country of Poland in the period between the First and Second World Wars (1918–1939). Officially known as the Republic of Poland, the state was re-established in 1918, in the aftermath of World War I. The Second Republic ceased to exist in 1939, when Poland was invaded by Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union and the Slovak Republic, marking the beginning of the European theatre of World War II.

According to the Polish Institute of National Remembrance, from 1945 to 1953 Bauman was a political officer in the Internal Security Corps (KBW), a military unit formed to combat Ukrainian nationalist insurgents and part of the remnants of the Polish Home Army. [2] Later Bauman worked for military intelligence from 1945 to 1948. However, the nature and extent of his collaboration remain unknown, as well as the exact circumstances under which it was terminated. [2]

Institute of National Remembrance Polish government-affiliated research institute with lustration prerogatives and prosecution powers

The Institute of National RemembranceCommission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation is a Polish government-affiliated research institute with lustration prerogatives, as well as prosecution powers. It was created by legislation enacted by the Parliament of Poland. The Institute specialises in the legal and historical examination of the 20th century history of Poland in particular. IPN investigates both Nazi and Communist crimes committed in Poland between 1939 and the Revolutions of 1989, documents its findings and disseminates the results of its investigations to the public.

The Internal Security Corps was a special-purpose military formation in Poland under Stalinist government, established by the communist Council of Ministers on May 24, 1945.

Ukrainian Insurgent Army paramilitary wing of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (Bandera movement)

The Ukrainian Insurgent Army was a Ukrainian nationalist paramilitary and later partisan formation. During World War II, it was engaged in guerrilla warfare against Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, the Polish Underground State and Communist Poland. Its ultimate purpose was an independent and unified Ukrainian state. The insurgent army arose out of separate militant formations of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists—Bandera faction, other militant national-patriotic formations, some former defectors of the Ukrainian Auxiliary Police, mobilization of local populations and others. The political leadership of the army belonged to the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists—Bandera. It was the primary perpetrator of the ethnic cleansing of Poles in Volhynia and Eastern Galicia.

In an interview with The Guardian , Bauman confirmed he had been a committed communist during and after World War II and had never made a secret of it. He admitted that joining the military intelligence service at age 19 was a mistake although he had a "dull" desk-job and did not remember informing on anyone. [3] [4] While serving in the KBW, Bauman first studied sociology at the Warsaw Academy of Political and Social Science. In the KBW Bauman, already in the rank of major, was suddenly dishonourably discharged in 1953, after his father had approached the Israeli embassy in Warsaw with a view to emigrating to Israel. As Bauman did not share his father's Zionist tendencies and was indeed strongly anti-Zionist, his dismissal caused a severe, though temporary estrangement from his father. During the period of unemployment that followed, he completed his M.A. and in 1954 became a lecturer at the University of Warsaw, where he remained until 1968.[ citation needed ]

<i>The Guardian</i> British national daily newspaper

The Guardian is a British daily newspaper. It was founded in 1821 as The Manchester Guardian, and changed its name in 1959. Along with its sister papers The Observer and The Guardian Weekly, the Guardian is part of the Guardian Media Group, owned by the Scott Trust. The trust was created in 1936 to "secure the financial and editorial independence of the Guardian in perpetuity and to safeguard the journalistic freedom and liberal values of the Guardian free from commercial or political interference". The trust was converted into a limited company in 2008, with a constitution written so as to maintain for The Guardian the same protections as were built into the structure of the Scott Trust by its creators. Profits are reinvested in journalism rather than distributed to owners or shareholders.

Israel country in the Middle East

Israel, also known as the State of Israel, is a country in Western Asia, located on the southeastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea and the northern shore of the Red Sea. It has land borders with Lebanon to the north, Syria to the northeast, Jordan on the east, the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip to the east and west, respectively, and Egypt to the southwest. The country contains geographically diverse features within its relatively small area. Israel's economic and technological center is Tel Aviv, while its seat of government and proclaimed capital is Jerusalem, although the state's sovereignty over Jerusalem has only partial recognition.

Zionism Movement that supports the creation of a Jewish homeland

Zionism is the nationalist movement of the Jewish people that espouses the re-establishment of and support for a Jewish state in the territory defined as the historic Land of Israel. Modern Zionism emerged in the late 19th century in Central and Eastern Europe as a national revival movement, both in reaction to newer waves of antisemitism and as a response to Haskalah, or Jewish Enlightenment. Soon after this, most leaders of the movement associated the main goal with creating the desired state in Palestine, then an area controlled by the Ottoman Empire.

During a spell at the London School of Economics, where his supervisor was Robert McKenzie, he prepared a comprehensive study on the British socialist movement, his first major book. Published originally in Polish in 1959, a revised edition appeared in English in 1972. Bauman went on to publish other books, including Socjologia na co dzień ("Everyday Sociology", 1964), which reached a large popular audience in Poland and later formed the foundation for the English-language text-book Thinking Sociologically (1990). Initially, Bauman remained close to orthodox Marxist doctrine, but, influenced by Georg Simmel and Antonio Gramsci, he became increasingly critical of Poland's Communist government. Owing to this he was never awarded a professorship even after he completed his habilitation but, after his former teacher, Julian Hochfeld, was made vice-director of UNESCO's Department for Social Sciences in Paris in 1962, Bauman did in fact inherit Hochfeld's chair.[ citation needed ]

London School of Economics Public research university in Westminster, central London, England

The London School of Economics is a public research university located in London, England, and a member institution of the federal University of London. Founded in 1895 by Fabian Society members Sidney Webb, Beatrice Webb, Graham Wallas, and George Bernard Shaw for the betterment of society, LSE joined the University of London in 1900 and established its first degree courses under the auspices of the University in 1901. The LSE started awarding its own degrees in 2008, prior to which it awarded degrees of the University of London.

Robert McKenzie (psephologist) Canadian sociologist

Robert Trelford McKenzie was a Canadian professor of politics and sociology, and a psephologist. He is perhaps most well known in Britain as one of the main presenters of the BBC's General Election programmes.

Marxism economic and sociopolitical worldview based on the works of Karl Marx

Marxism is a theory and method of working-class self-emancipation. As a theory, it relies on a method of socioeconomic analysis that views class relations and social conflict using a materialist interpretation of historical development and takes a dialectical view of social transformation. It originates from the works of 19th-century German philosophers Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.

Faced with increasing political pressure connected with a political purge led by Mieczysław Moczar, the Chief of the Polish Communist Security Police, Bauman renounced his membership of the governing Polish United Workers' Party in January 1968. The March 1968 events culminated in a purge that drove many remaining Communist Poles of Jewish descent out of the country, including those intellectuals who had fallen from grace with the communist government.[ citation needed ] Bauman, who had lost his chair at the University of Warsaw, was among them. Having had to give up Polish citizenship to be allowed to leave the country, he first went to Israel to teach at Tel Aviv University, before accepting the chair of sociology at the University of Leeds, where he intermittently also served as head of department. After his appointment, he published almost exclusively in English, his third language, and his reputation grew. Indeed, from the late 1990s, Bauman exerted a considerable influence on the anti- or alter-globalization movement.[ citation needed ]

Mieczysław Moczar Polish general

Mieczysław Moczar was a Polish communist who played a prominent role in the history of the Polish People's Republic. He is known for his ultranationalist, xenophobic and antisemitic attitude which influenced Polish United Workers' Party politics in the late 1960s. During this time, General Moczar and his supporters challenged general secretary Władysław Gomułka's authority.

The Służba BezpieczeństwaMinisterstwa Spraw Wewnętrznych, commonly known as Esbecja, was established in the People's Republic of Poland in 1956 as a secret police force. The Ministry of Internal Affairs had been established in 1954, but it did not play a significant role until the winding-up of the Committee for Public Safety.

Polish United Workers Party Polish former communist political party

The Polish United Workers' Party was the Communist party which governed the Polish People's Republic from 1948 to 1989. Ideologically it was based on the theories of Marxism-Leninism. It also controlled the armed forces, the Polish People's Army.

In a 2011 interview in the Polish weekly, "Polityka", Bauman criticised Zionism and Israel, saying Israel was not interested in peace and that it was "taking advantage of the Holocaust to legitimize unconscionable acts". He compared the Israeli West Bank barrier to the walls of the Warsaw Ghetto where hundreds of thousands of Jews had died in the Holocaust. The Israeli ambassador to Warsaw, Zvi Bar, called Bauman's comments "half truths" and "groundless generalizations." [5]

Bauman was a supporter of the Campaign for the Establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, an organisation which advocates for democratic reform in the United Nations, and the creation of a more accountable international political system. [6]

Family

Bauman was married to writer Janina Bauman, née Lewinson; 18 August 1926 – 29 December 2009. [7] They had three daughters, painter Lydia Bauman, architect Irena Bauman, and professor Anna Sfard, a leading theorist of education at the University of Haifa. His grandson Michael Sfard is a prominent civil rights lawyer and author in Israel. Zygmunt Bauman died in Leeds on 9 January 2017. [8]

Work

Bauman's published work extends to 57 books and well over a hundred articles. [9] Most of these address a number of common themes, among which are globalisation, modernity and postmodernity, consumerism, and morality.[ citation needed ]

Early work

Bauman's earliest publication in English is a study of the British labour movement and its relationship to class and social stratification, originally published in Poland in 1960. [10] He continued to publish on the subject of class and social conflict until the early 1980s. His last book was on the subject of Memories of Class. [11] Whilst his later books do not address issues of class directly, he continued to describe himself as a socialist, and he never rejected Marxism entirely. [12] The Neo-Marxist theorist Antonio Gramsci in particular remained one of his most profound influences, along with Neo-Kantian sociologist and philosopher Georg Simmel. [13]

Modernity and rationality

In the late 1980s and early 1990s Bauman published a number of books that dealt with the relationship between modernity, bureaucracy, rationality and social exclusion. [14] Bauman, following Freud, came to view European modernity as a trade off: European society, he argued, had agreed to forego a level of freedom to receive the benefits of increased individual security. Bauman argued that modernity, in what he later came to term its 'solid' form, involved removing unknowns and uncertainties. It involved control over nature, hierarchical bureaucracy, rules and regulations, control and categorisation — all of which attempted to remove gradually personal insecurities, making the chaotic aspects of human life appear well-ordered and familiar.

Bauman in 2011 Zygmunt Bauman, fot. M. Oliva Soto (6144135392).jpg
Bauman in 2011

Later in a number of books Bauman began to develop the position that such order-making never manages to achieve the desired results. When life becomes organised into familiar and manageable categories, he argued, there are always social groups who cannot be administered, who cannot be separated out and controlled. In his book Modernity and Ambivalence Bauman began to theorise about such indeterminate persons in terms of an allegorical figure he called, 'the stranger.' Drawing upon Georg Simmel's sociology and the philosophy of Jacques Derrida, Bauman came to write of the stranger as the person who is present yet unfamiliar, society's undecidable. In Modernity and Ambivalence Bauman attempted to give an account of the different approaches modern society adopts toward the stranger. He argued that, on the one hand, in a consumer-oriented economy the strange and the unfamiliar is always enticing; in different styles of food, different fashions and in tourism it is possible to experience the allure of what is unfamiliar. Yet this strange-ness also has a more negative side. The stranger, because he cannot be controlled or ordered, is always the object of fear; he is the potential mugger, the person outside of society's borders who is a constant threat.

Bauman's most famous book, Modernity and the Holocaust, is an attempt to give a full account of the dangers of those kinds of fears. Drawing upon Hannah Arendt and Theodor Adorno's books on totalitarianism and the Enlightenment, Bauman developed the argument that the Holocaust should not simply be considered to be an event in Jewish history, nor a regression to pre-modern barbarism. Rather, he argued, the Holocaust should be seen as deeply connected to modernity and its order-making efforts. Procedural rationality, the division of labour into smaller and smaller tasks, the taxonomic categorisation of different species, and the tendency to view obedience to rules as morally good, all played their role in the Holocaust coming to pass. He argued that for this reason modern societies have not fully grasped the lessons of the Holocaust; it tends to be viewed—to use Bauman's metaphor—like a picture hanging on the wall, offering few lessons. In Bauman's analysis the Jews became 'strangers' par excellence in Europe. [15] The Final Solution was pictured by him as an extreme example of the attempt made by society to excise the uncomfortable and indeterminate elements that exist within it. Bauman, like the philosopher Giorgio Agamben, contended that the same processes of exclusion that were at work in the Holocaust could, and to an extent do, still come into play today.

Postmodernity and consumerism

In the mid-to-late 1990s, Bauman began to explore postmodernity and consumerism. [16] He posited that a shift had taken place in modern society in the latter half of the 20th century. It had changed from a society of producers into a society of consumers. According to Bauman, this change reversed Freud's "modern" tradeoff—i.e., security was given up in exchange for more freedom, freedom to purchase, consume, and enjoy life. In his books in the 1990s Bauman wrote of this as being a shift from "modernity" to "post-modernity".

Since the turn of the millennium, his books have tried to avoid the confusion surrounding the term "postmodernity" by using the metaphors of "liquid" and "solid" modernity. In his books on modern consumerism, Bauman still writes of the same uncertainties that he portrayed in his writings on "solid" modernity; but in these books he writes of fears becoming more diffuse and harder to pin down. Indeed, they are, to use the title of one of his books, "liquid fears" – fears about paedophilia, for instance, which are amorphous and have no easily identifiable reference. [17]

Bauman is credited with coining the term allosemitism to encompass both philo-Semitic and anti-Semitic attitudes towards Jews as the other. [18] [19] Bauman reportedly predicted the negative political effect that social media have on voter's choice by denouncing them as 'trap' where people only 'see reflections of their own face'. [20]

Awards and honours

Bauman was awarded the European Amalfi Prize for Sociology and Social Sciences in 1992 and the Theodor W. Adorno Award of the city of Frankfurt in 1998. He was awarded in 2010, jointly with Alain Touraine, the Príncipe de Asturias Prize for Communication and the Humanities. [21]

The University of Leeds established 'The Bauman Institute' within its School of Sociology and Social Policy in his honour in September 2010. [22] The University of Lower Silesia, a small private higher education institution in Lower Silesia, Poland, planned to award Bauman an honorary doctorate in October 2013. [23] However, as a reaction to a major anti-communist and what Bauman supporters allege "anti-semitic" uproar against him, he eventually rejected the award. [24] [25]

In 2015 the University of Salento awarded Bauman an honorary degree in Modern Languages, Literature and Literary Translation. [26]

Criticisms

In 2014, Peter Walsh, a PhD candidate at the University of Cambridge, accused Bauman of plagiarism from several websites, including Wikipedia, in his book Does the Richness of the Few Benefit Us All? (2013). In this book Bauman is said to have copied verbatim paragraphs from Wikipedia articles on Slow Food and steady-state economy, along with their bibliography, without attributing sources, authors or the fact that they were copied from Wikipedia. He did use a paragraph from the article on the golden handshake, but this citation was properly attributed to Wikipedia. [27]

In a response Bauman suggested that "obedience" to "technical" rules was unnecessary, and that he "never once failed to acknowledge the authorship of the ideas or concepts that I deployed, or that inspired the ones I coined". [28] In a detailed critique of Walsh and co-author David Lehmann, cultural critics Brad Evans and Henry A. Giroux concluded: "This charge against Bauman is truly despicable. It's a reactionary ideological critique dressed up as the celebration of method and a back-door defence of a sterile empiricism and culture of positivism. This is a discourse that enshrines data, correlations, and performance, while eschewing matters of substance, social problems, and power." [29]

Bibliography

Warsaw period

Leeds period

See also

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References

  1. Zygmunt, B. (2000). Liquid modernity. Polity, Cambridge. ISBN   9780745624099
  2. 1 2 Piotr Gontarczyk: Towarzysz "Semjon". Nieznany życiorys Zygmunta Baumana Archived 29 August 2013 at the Wayback Machine "Biuletyn IPN", 6/2006. S. 74–83
  3. Aida Edemariam, "Professor with a past", The Guardian, 28 April 2007.
  4. The Guardian piece erroneously claimed that the Brickhouse article, to which it referred, was written by Bogdan Musiał, a conservative Polish historian working in Germany. In fact, it was written by the Institute of National Remembrance employee, Piotr Gontarczyk; Musiał had simply repeated Gontarczyk's findings in the German Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung .
  5. Roman Frister, Polish-Jewish sociologist compares West Bank separation fence to Warsaw Ghetto walls, Haaretz , 1 September 2011.
  6. "Overview". Campaign for a UN Parliamentary Assembly. Retrieved 9 October 2017.
  7. Janina Bauman nie żyje, Gazeta Wyborcza. Retrieved 10 January 2017. ‹See Tfd› (in Polish)
  8. "Zygmunt Bauman, sociologist who wrote identity in the modern world, dies at 91". The Washington Post. Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  9. "Academic Staff " Sociology and Social Policy " University of Leeds". University of Leeds. 19 December 2016. Retrieved 9 March 2017.
  10. Between Class and Élite. The Evolution of the British Labour Movement: A Sociological Study. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1972.
  11. Memories of Class: The Pre-History and After-Life of Class. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul
  12. Madeleine Bunting, "Passion and pessimism". The Guardian, 5 April 2003.
  13. Bauman, Zygmunt; Tester, Keith (31 May 2013). Conversations with Zygmunt Bauman. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN   978-0745657134.
  14. See in particular Modernity and Ambivalence, Cambridge: Polity, 1991, and Modernity and the Holocaust, Cambridge: Polity/Blackwell, 1990.
  15. Modernity and the Holocaust, p. 53.
  16. Work, Consumerism and the New Poor, Open University, 1998.
  17. See In Search of Politics, Polity, 1999.
  18. Weinstein, Valerie. "Dissolving Boundaries: Assimilation and Allosemitism in E. A. Dupont's "Das Alte Gesetz" (1923) and Veit Harlan's "Jud Süss" (1940)", The German Quarterly 78.4 (2005): 496–516.
  19. Briefel, Aviva. "Allosemitic Modernism", NOVEL: A Forum on Fiction 43, no. 2 (2010): 361–63, Jstor.org. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  20. De Querol, Ricardo (25 January 2016). "Zygmunt Bauman: "Social media are a trap". El Pais.
  21. Press release: Prince of Asturias Awards: Alain Touraine and Zygmunt Bauman, Prince of Asturias Award for Communication and Humanities Archived 31 May 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  22. "The Bauman Institute". University of Leeds. 20 June 2014. Retrieved 9 March 2017.
  23. Gnauck, Gerhard (23 August 2013). "Ehrendoktor mit Hindernissen". Die Welt.
  24. "Leeds professor rejects Polish award over antisemitic slurs", The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
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Further reading