Profile of Sociologist Zygmunt Bauman

Nicholas Fern profiles Zygmunt Bauman, the otherwise low- profile sociologist who was born in Poland, grew up in the Soviet Union where he championed humanistic Marxism and where he “attributes to Antonio Gramsci what he calls his ‘honourable discharge’ from Marxism”. He later joined the Leeds University in 1971 retiring in 1991. More recently he has been (rightly in my view) critical of the disillusioned left that moved towards post- modernism following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Fern has well- summarized both the man and his works in this write up.

New Labour, in the form of Geoff Mulgan’s forward strategy unit, flirted with Bauman’s ideas, but found them too downbeat in days when things could only get better. Bauman once assured Tester that “this world of ours needs socialists more than at any other time. Like the phoenix, socialism is reborn from every pile of ashes left day in, day out, by burnt-out human dreams and charred hopes.” Someone else seems to think so. When I contacted Varcoe, he had recently been asked for an introduction to Bauman by a representative of Jacques Delors.

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