The death of Zygmunt Bauman 9/1/17

The BSA and the rest of the sociological world has paid tribute to Zygmunt Bauman, who died at his home in Leeds yesterday, 9 January 2017, aged 91.

Professor Bauman was one of the world’s most eminent social theorists and the author of 57 books. He pioneered the concept of liquid modernity, the condition of mobility and change in relationships, identities and economics in contemporary society.

On Twitter, the former LSE Director Professor Craig Calhoun said: “RIP Zygmunt Bauman, a great sociologist and public intellectual, and a humane voice in too often inhumane times.”

Professor Ben Carrington, of the University of Texas at Austin, said: “Sad news, Modernity and the Holocaust is one of the most important sociology texts of the C20th.”

The BSA President, Professor Lynn Jamieson, wrote for the Polska Agencja Prasowa that, “With the death of Zygmunt Bauman a great scholar leaves the world stage, British academic life and sociology. 

“His diagnosis of the fragility of relationships and the precariousness of civil social life in ‘liquid modernity’ is cited across the spectrum in British sociology, from first year undergraduate to senior academic.

“This genre of his writing will continue to be cited for some years to come. His work on the holocaust will endure as essential reading. 

“After a plenary address at a British Sociological Association conference, a member of the audience asked about the bleakness of his sociology. He good-naturedly responded that he didn’t make the world he was writing about. 

“As a specialist on the sociology of personal relationships I was with the spirit of greater optimism behind the comment; the weight of research evidence on everyday personal life demonstrates more care, commitments and small acts of kindness than estrangement and abandonment.

“Nevertheless, I have had many occasions to find the work of Zygmunt Bauman invaluable food for thought. His engaging writing style has helped his influence extend far beyond the academy and this too is a lasting service to sociology.”

The BSA will carry appreciations of his life and work and cover more on the reaction to Professor Bauman’s death in the spring issue of our magazine Network.

For other sources on Professor Bauman: