Felix Stalder on Tue, 10 Jan 2017 11:57:18 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> Zygmunt Bauman (1925-2017)

And, now, Zygmunt Bauman died. For most, he is remembered as
sociologist who dealt with the holocaust, or, because of this "fluid
modernity" as a post-modernist. For me, particularly in his more
recent work, he was the last great proponent of of the uniquely
European tradition of negative negative critique. His humanist vision
was profound, dark and uncompromising, with no quick solutions at the


Zygmunt Bauman, Polish-Jewish sociologist and philosopher, dies at 91
January 9, 2017 4:57pm	


WARSAW, Poland (JTA) — Zygmunt Bauman, a Polish-Jewish sociologist and
philosopher who authored more than 50 books, has died.

Bauman, who wrote on subjects ranging from the fluidity of identity in
the modern world to consumerism, died Monday at his home in Leeds,
England. He was 91.

His work focused on the outcasts and the marginalized, and dealt with
modernity and globalization.

Bauman believed that the genocide of the Holocaust and totalitarian
systems were unnatural but the logical consequence of modernity. They
were the culmination of the idea of progress and purity which, according
to Bauman, were of crucial importance for the dynamics of modernity.

Bauman was born in 1925, in Poznan, to a family of poor Polish Jews.
After the outbreak of World War II he fled with his parents to the
Soviet Union. In 1944 he joined the Polish army; he fought in the Battle
of Berlin the following year.

In the years 1945 to 1953, Bauman served as an officer in a
Stalinist-era military organization, the Internal Security Corps, a
communist counterespionage organization. He acknowledged in 2006 that he
worked for the organization but only in a desk job, though others who
worked for the corps reportedly killed resisters to the regime.

He was viewed by many in Poland as an enemy of the country and in 2013
was booed off the stage during a debate in Wroclaw, after which he never
returned to the country.

Following World War II, Bauman studied philosophy at the University of
Warsaw. As a member of the philosophy faculty at the university, he
taught Marxism. After October 1956 he became one of the first sociology
scholars in Poland.

As a result of the communist regime’s anti-Semitic campaign, in March
1968 he was fired from the University of Warsaw, where he was head of
the Department of General Sociology, and was forced to leave Poland.

From 1969 to 1971 he lectured at universities in Tel Aviv and Haifa. In
1971 he moved to the United Kingdom, where he became involved with the
University of Leeds, becoming head of the sociology department until his
retirement in 1990.

In recent years he became an outspoken critic of Israel’s government for
its treatment of the Palestinians.

In his recent book “Strangers at Our Door” he analyzed the refugee
crisis, the panic it caused and the narrative built around it by
politicians and the media.

In a 2009 interview, Bauman was optimistic about the Jews’ place in the
Diaspora and the possibilities for societies to embrace pluralism.

“Now, however, it looks like that diasporic context of our living will
not go away — it will be there forever, so learning how to live with
strangers day in, day out without abandoning my own strangeness is high
on the agenda,” he said. “You are a stranger, I am a stranger, we all
remain strangers, and nevertheless we can like or even love each other.”


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