School of Sociology and Social Policy

The Bauman Institute

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Parallel Sessions 2

Special Session: Hosted by ‘Leeds Love It Share It’ (LLISI)

Chair: Martin Winwright, The Guardian
Room 1

Future city governance: Harnessing waste and finding potential

We are living in challenging and wasteful times, and in thinking about the future of our cities, we need to find ways to release the potential of the wasted resources that lie untapped within our cities’ people and spaces. These challenges bring with them an urgent need for re-thinking how the often distinct sectors of commercial practice, public and third sector, and academia can work and think together. This conference session is a special session hosted by Leeds Love It Share It CIC (LLISI) and will present two regional case studies and a discussion on the theme of utilising potential for city governance through collaborative working.

LLISI was established in 2007 and operates as an independent open source forum for ideas, debate and action in Leeds. Our aim is to create new visions for how Leeds could be in the future and to identify the skills and ideas that will be needed to deal with the challenges of climate change, peak oil and economic crisis. We engage in research to support the citizens of Leeds, local organisations and policy makers to promote understanding of sustainability and climate change as well as helping to design and implement solutions.

Margins within the City: re-thinking regeneration

Presented by Guy Julier, LLISI / Leeds Metropolitan University; Rachael Unsworth, LLISI / University of Leeds; Katie Hill, LLISI / Leeds Metropolitan University, UK.

Regeneration policy in the UK has failed to deliver real gains for many of the inner city neighbourhoods that it was meant to help, but particularly those on the margins of our most prosperous and affluent city centres. Leeds Love It Share It CIC undertook the ‘Margins within the city’ project in 2008/09 as a means to challenge thinking about regeneration in the city of Leeds. We wanted to find new ways of understanding the neighbourhoods in the rim around the city centre, uncover the potential of these neighbourhoods for future resilience and well-being and suggest ways forward. A year-long programme of action research was undertaken to pilot an approach to investigating the social networks, skills and enterprise, and under-utilised land and buildings in a case study neighbourhood. This paper shows the approach and method for the research, the cross-cutting themes within the findings and the recommendations for future policy development.

Dewsbury Renaissance project: Stepping Stones to new governance models

Presented by Phil Wood, CoMedia and Irena Bauman, Bauman Lyons Architects.

Over the last 10 years, Yorkshire Forward, Regional Development Agency, has pioneered a new approach to regeneration of some of the most economically deprived towns and cities in Yorkshire. This approach consists of developing a 25 year vision for each place and establishing of a local ‘Town Team’ to assist in the delivery of the vision. The Town Team concept was established in 1960s by the American Institute of Architects who ran the Regional/Urban Design Assistance Team programme, a result-driven community design initiative based upon the principles of interdisciplinary solutions, objectivity and public participation. Bauman Lyons Architects were commissioned by Kirklees Council in 2009 to lead on developing a vision and a town team for the multicultural town of Dewsbury. The presentation will explore how the vision has been built on existing assets, and debate the opportunities presented by this example of Town Team governance and its application to other places.

Consumerism and Sustainability

Chair: Sam de Boise
Room 2

Tackling Climate Change through Community

Richard M. Baldwin, Centre for Social and Economic Research on the Global Environment (CSERGE), University of East Anglia, UK

Academics and policymakers claim that community-based organisations may be able to encourage individuals to adopt pro-environmental behavioural changes (Gardner & Stern 2002, Jackson 2005); however there is currently limited research-based evidence to support this assertion (e.g. Middlemiss 2008). This paper would provide a contribution by exploring the role that community can play in encouraging pro-environmental behavioural change campaign using Ipswich Town Football Club’s ‘Save Your Energy for the Blues’ campaign as a case study. The campaign encouraged over 3000 people to change their behaviour, with a significant percentage of them doing so despite a lack of engagement with environmental issues (Baldwin 2009). This suggests the impact that community-based campaigns may be able to play in engaging with a wider section of society to encourage behavioural change than has been accomplished to date using existing policy tools based on rationalist interpretations of behavioural change (Burgess et al. 2003, HM Government 2005).

Is there a role for contemporary practices of askēsis in supporting a transition to sustainable consumption?

Peter Doran, Queens University Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK

In my paper I will draw on recent Foucauldian scholarship on askēsis to explore the emerging role of contemporary mindfulness practices and associated teachings in advancing our understanding and critique of consumerism and promoting sustainable consumption, as lifestyle change is forced up the international policy agenda by climate change (IPCC AR4, 2007). Mindfulness training is associated with practices such as Zen meditation and contemplation. Studies of practices pursued by individuals and communities engaged in mindfulness training can contribute new insights to our debates on the relationship between consumerism and well being, because they not only call attention to the role of subjective states and their importance for articulating new measures of quality of life (Layard, 2005; Alkire, 2009), they also demonstrate that practitioners can significantly influence their subjective states and, thereby, their way of knowing and relating to the material world.

‘Climate change, instrumentalism and ethics: Reading climate change through Zygmunt Bauman’s theses on modernity’

Leon Sealey-Huggins, School of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Leeds, UK

The sociology of Zygmunt Bauman provides a rich corpus of ideas through which modernity and its various forms can be understood. In particular, Bauman’s (1991) account of the ambivalence of modernity, as evidenced in the occurrence of the Holocaust (Bauman 1989), serves as a useful antidote to overly-optimistic understandings of modernity as the rational march towards progress.

In this paper I argue that applying Bauman’s theses to the crisis of climate politics (Chatterton 2009; Pusey and Russell 2010) enriches our understanding of responses to climate change. Indeed, climate change is often represented as being a consequence of the failure of modern, technical, scientific or market management. Instead I propose that we recognise socially-induced climate change as an outcome in keeping with societies where questions of instrumentally-rational technical management take precedence over substantive-ethical considerations. In exploring the appropriateness of applying Bauman’s arguments to the climate crisis I also ask whether Bauman’s pessimistic prognosis about the adiaphoric character of liquid modernity could be tempered by turning to the politics and ethics of the climate justice movement to seek adequate forms of resistance.

Renewing Politics and Civil Society

Chair: Peter Beilharz
Room 3

In-between Cosmopolitan Responsibility and Judgement

Stephen Tasson, York University, CANADA

As Manni Crone has highlighted, Bauman’s turn toward “global law” to address the insecurities of globalization may strike those familiar with his fierce criticisms of modern ethics as rather paradoxical. However Bauman’s reference to “global law” should not be confused with the Kantian-inspired cosmopolitan order – founded on adiaphoric laws and imagined “world citizens” – which still orients much of the contemporary literature on cosmopolitanism. Instead Bauman’s global law seems to serve as a proxy for a particular kind of cosmopolitan political judgement; as both a moment of genuine human togetherness and so also a potential moment of justice.

This paper seeks to bridge some of the distance between Bauman’s reworking of Levinas on the one hand and the post-Kantian cosmopolitan tradition on the other. I argue that “critical cosmopolitans” might well find in Bauman’s work on globalization, and specifically the “globalization of responsibility,” vital resources to rejuvenate a faltering theoretical project.

Renewing Politics: The Dimensions of Global Law

Mariá-Isabel Garrido Gómez, University of Alcalá, SPAIN

In this paper, I start from an interdisciplinary and plural concept of what the term globalisation means. In particular, globalisation presents a reference to a social, economic, cultural and demographic process from which Law cannot escape. From this perspective, and starting from the new relationship between the public and private spheres, what stand out are the relevance of deregulation as a reality and the need for the State to continue maintaining its functions, albeit renewed in accordance with the demands of the new scenario in which it operates. But the reality of Law demonstrates a number of problems which need to be overcome through a new understanding of globalisation and the implementation of new legal techniques and formulations.

Weeds in the Disciplined Society? Irregular Migration, Biopolitics, and the Social Thought of Zygmunt Bauman

Margaret Austin Smith, University of Maryland, College Park, USA

Foucault’s biopolitics makes no distinction between citizen and non-citizen. Irregular migrants in the disciplined society then, would be disciplined in exactly the same way as those with citizenship. But in considering irregular migration, it is clear that Foucault’s disciplined society, with its “political dream of the plague,” in fact coexists with the “pure community,” a paradigm Foucault’s conception of power has left behind. Thus to think about the ways (some uniform, some distinct) in which citizens and non-citizens are disciplined for participation in civic life, we need Bauman’s ideas of the gardener state (1989), of wasted lives (2004), and of the irreparable aporias of modernity (1993) with respect to nation-states and citizenship.  This paper explores the effects of both discursive practices and differential treatments on the civic experiences of irregular migrants with particular focus on what the social thought of Zygmunt Bauman contributes to this discussion. 

An Anarchist Future: Roots in Global Civic Histories

Mohammed A. Bamyeh, University of Pittsburgh, USA

The paper explores several reasons for this misconstruction of global civic histories, including the preference for structural universal explanations in modern social science, preference for total systems over micropolitics, and the significance attached to the bourgeois experience as a template of social evolution everywhere. The paper then argues that a proper reappraisal of anarchist thought in terms of ordinary civic histories corresponds now to a variety of global sensibilities and familiar traditions of local self-organization, which I use to redefine the notion of civil society. In this connection, the paper takes a brief look at how both civil society and anarchism were misconstrued and separated in Eurocentric sociological theory, in which civil society became increasingly identified with a specific and unique European bourgeois experience, rather than seen as a namesake of society organized outside the state everywhere.

Given current debates on Islam, a particular stress in the paper is devoted to traditions of self-organization in Islamic history, out of which, I argue against current readings, the shari’a evolved as a system that contained prototypical anarchic features (i.e. the shari’a was not intended to be uniform, was not state-oriented, and was able to house contradictions). In this connection I revisit the relevant contributions to this debate of the current hermeneutics movement in Islamic public philosophy, about which little is known in the West.

Globalization, Risk and Uncertainty

Chair: Dean Curran
Room 4

The Role of Democratic Governance under Conditions of Risk and Uncertainty

Frank Go (Erasmus University, NETHERLANDS) and Mariapina Trunfio (University of Naples, ITALY)

Bauman’s “liquid modernity” serves as a ‘lens’ to understand how under conditions of global economic interdependency, the interests of the few are favoured over the marginalized majority.  Accelerated and exponential communications growth marks globalization, connected to a dominant command-and-control model designed to motivate through Pavlovian carrot-and-stick incentives. Dependencies have moved far beyond the reach of political-cultural institutions, but lack a template for democratic governance enabling dis-enfranchised and estranged stakeholders to reconcile
felt risk and uncertainty. Based on Ostrom & Hess’ empirically-based guidelines this paper argues that at a time when privatization of resources spreads unabated, the principles of collective action afford a lever to develop governance structures to effectively manage critical resources as common-pool resources. The main contribution of this paper is threefold: It develops a model affording the re-appropriation of democratic governance; applies this model to a case study, pinpointing advantages and disadvantages from a trade-off perspective.

Life courses in the globalization process: Measurement and major developments

Dirk Hofäcker, University of Bamberg, GERMANY

Despite the fact that, in recent decades, globalization has been highly debated, the measurement of globalization still remains vague or restricted to its economic dimension. Using data for 97 countries from 1970 onwards, we present a multi-dimensional measure of globalization, which extends previous attempts to measure globalization by adding dimensions that represent central facets of a genuine sociological concept of globalization. Drawing back to this so-called “GlobalIndex”, we empirically sketch the development of globalization over time.

We then use selected examples from the GLOBALIFE and TransEurope research projects to demonstrate how globalization has affected individual life courses in various modern societies. Our results show that globalization has impacted differently on different phases of the life course:  while mid-career men are largely protected from rising uncertainty, young adults are the ‘losers’ of globalization. Second, we find that education and class increasingly determine in how far individuals have to face labor market risks, indicating that globalization triggers a strengthening of existing
social inequality structures. Third, globalization has not led to the same outcome in different modern societies. Deeply embedded national institutions entail variable strategies of labor market flexibilization which differentially shape patterns of social inequality in modern societies.

The Technologization of Reproduction: Managing Risk, Uncertainty and Ambivalence in the Age of Biomedicine

Catarina Delaunay, CESNOVA – Centro de Estudos de Sociologia da Universidade Nova de Lisboa, PORTUGAL

This paper explores the uncertainty and ambivalence regarding the development of Biomedicine in modern societies, namely in what concerns human reproduction in order to identify the challenges and controversies involved. We live nowadays in an era of permanent «ambivalence», in the so called «risk society», where the scientific and technical progress, despite the promises and possibilities created, sometimes introduces a certain incapacity to control or predict the dangerous consequences associated, for example, with genetic manipulation. In this context, risk management implies not only preventive action, when it is possible to determine the probability of its occurrence, but also precautionary action, in cases where it is not possible to define or identify it. Reproductive technologies have recently witnessed a huge improvement, but they seem to be emerged in a reflexive and critical environment, since there is a tension between the absolute faith in techno-sciences of enthusiasts and the distrust or fear among sceptic or religious people. It is not only the risks of eugenic aspirations that are at stake when we discuss artificial conception, but also the lack of objectivity in infertility clinic diagnosis or even the failures regarding the set of therapeutics for its treatment. Therefore, the increasing sophistication of assisted reproductive technology, instead of reducing problems, multiplies them, bringing forth symptoms of disorder and existential discomfort. This is the paradox and uneasiness that, according to Zygmunt Bauman, characterizes modern civilizing process in western societies and that we aim to address here, based on the analysis of theoretical and empirical data, namely specific documentation (legislation and Ethics Committee reports) and focused interviews with physicians, infertile couples and experts.

Welcome to the Hotel California: Bauman and Virilio on Utopia, Dystopia, and Globalisation

Mark Featherstone, Keele University, Keele, Staffordshire, UK

In this paper I consider the works of Bauman and Virilio focussing on the ways in which their visions of processes of globalisation are comparable in terms of how they perceive them as resulting in a condition that we might characterise as planetary utopia-dystopia. That is to say that both Bauman, through his work on liquidity, and Virilio, in his theory of speed, explore the emergence of a form of globalised society that has now reached its outer limits, in terms of the possibility of liquidity or fluidity and speed and dynamism, and started to close or implode back towards a condition both writers talk about through the emergence of a society of camps, ghettos, favelas, gated communities, and other totally closed spaces. However, in both Bauman and Virilio, there is sense in which this process of closure, incarceration, and lock-down, is eternally in tension with the desire to escape, flee, and take flight to the extent that it is clear that Hermes, the Greek God of Speed and movement, who we may say represents the God of globalisation, is always in flight from the underworld that threatens to consume him and prevent his continued movement. This, then, the utopia-dystopia of globalisation for both Bauman and Virilio, where the utopia of liquidity, fluidity, movement, and dynamism is forever collapsing into a dystopia of solidity, stasis, incarceration, and immobility. In order to summarise this condition I follow in the footsteps of the Adorno and Horkheimer, the great critical theorists of modern capitalism, in order to argue that Bauman and Virilio perform a similar task for those who want to critique post-modern global capitalism. That is to say that I leap to California, the eventual home of Adorno and Horkheimer, argue that the condition of globalised movement-lock down can be found here, and that this situation is perfectly captured by the idea of Hotel California, the oasis in the desert which is simultaneously heaven and hell and where you can check out, but never leave.

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