From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Born 19 November 1925
Died 9 January 2017 (aged 91)
Leeds, England, UK
Alma mater University of Warsaw
London School of Economics
Era 20th / 21st-century philosophy
Region Western Philosophy
School Continental philosophy · Western Marxism
Main interests Ethics · Political philosophy ·Sociology · Postmodernity ·Postmodern art
Notable ideas Modernity's struggle with ambiguity, resulting in theHolocaust · postmodern ethics ·critique of "liquid" modernity
Zygmunt Bauman (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. 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 asmodernity and the Holocaust, postmodern consumerism and liquid modernity.
3.2Modernity and rationality
3.3Postmodernity and consumerism
4Awards and honours
Bauman was born to non-observant Polish Jewish parents 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.
According to the Polish Institute of National Remembrance, from 1945 to 1953 Bauman was a political officer in theInternal Security Corps (KBW), a military unit formed to combat Ukrainian nationalist insurgents and part of the remnants of the Polish Home Army. Later Bauman worked for military intelligence from 1945-48. However, the nature and extent of his collaboration remain unknown, as well as the exact circumstances under which it was terminated.
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. 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.
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 Antonio Gramsci and Georg Simmel, he became increasingly critical of Poland's Communist government. Because of this he was never awarded a professorship even after he completed his habilitationbut, 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.
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. 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.
In a 2011 interview in the Polish weekly, "Polityka", Bauman criticized 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."