As the impact of our recent international launch conference starts to be felt far and wide, I am slowly beginning to gather my thoughts from the whirlwind of discussion and presentations that took place here in Leeds a few weeks ago. As I mentioned in my email to all of our delegates, I will soon post my own thoughts and reflections on the various sessions I attended and we will soon have available through our website both images and videos of our plenary sessions.
Our opening plenary session was given by Neal Lawson, Chair of Compass. Neal’s reflections on the intellectual guidance offered by Zygmunt Bauman’s sociology was a wonderful opening to the new Bauman Institute and – under the title of ‘Beyond Bureaucracy and Markets‘ – is published in an edited version today by Open Democracy.
Also published today is a Think Piece that I have written for Compass, entitled ‘Bauman’s Compass: Towards a Sociology of Hope‘. In this article, I reflect upon the recent economic crisis and argue that many of the most compelling issues we now face can only be understood through a sociological lens. Moreover, I propose that Zygmunt Bauman’s sociology has much to offer those who are currently seeking a new direction and a new sense of hope on the Left and that the absence of a genuine sociological literacy amongst key-decision makers is running the risk of becoming a major impediment to effective policy making.