Zygmunt Bauman

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Date and place of birth: 1925, Poznań, Poland

Living place: Leeds, UK

Theme: sociology, philosophy

ECC Participation: panel member, special guest

Zygmunt Bauman is a world-renowned sociologist and philosopher, one of the creators of the “postmodernism” concept. He’s a professor emeritus at the University of Leeds, and since 2004, he’s been the provost of the Jan Józef Lipski Community College in Teremiski, an informal cultural establishment, focused on building a citizen society. In his latest book, “Living on Borrowed Time: Conversations with Citlali Rovirosa-Madrazo”, released in Poland in 2010, Bauman talks about the problems of the postmodern world, such as the economic crisis, terrorism and demographic policies.

Bauman comes from a Polish-Jewish family. During World War II, he took part in the battle of Kolberg and the battle of Berlin. He was an officer of the Internal Security Corps from 1945 to 1953. He studied at the Academy for Social and Political Sciences in Warsaw and later at the Warsaw University. He was a professor at the latter until 1968, when he was removed from tenure during the anti-Zionist campaign of the government. After leaving the country, he worked at the universities in Tel Aviv and Haifa and from 1971 to 1990 he worked at the University of Leeds as dean of the Faculty of Sociology.

“Our planet’s already full.”

In his work, Bauman tried to describe modern social systems. He pitted modernity (with its ideas of progress and purity) a wicked interpretation of which spawned the Holocaust against relativizing postmodernism (which he often called “liquid modernity”), with its pluralism and lack of grand ideas. He was also aware of the dangers of the postmodern world (“Postmodernity and its discontents”, 1997), unwilling to give people time and chance to settle down and adapt to its ever-changing realities.

He is one of the classics of modern philosophy, acclaimed all over the world. He has recently received the Gloria Artis Medal and the Prince of Asturias Award – one of the most prestigious prizes in the Spanish-speaking world.

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TAGS: Zygmunt Bauman, philosophy, sociology, postmodernism