In Memoriam: Professor Keith Tester (1960-2019)

The Bauman Institute is very sad to learn of the death of Keith Tester, Professor of Sociology at Hull and an expert on culture and morality, as well as one of the world’s leading commentators on Zygmunt Bauman.

Keith Tester was Professor of Sociology at Hull since 2008, having previously been Professor of Cultural Sociology at the University of Portsmouth. Since, 2010-2011 he was also Professor of Sociology at Kyung Hee University, Seoul, Korea; Visiting Professor here at the Bauman Institute in the School of Sociology & Social Policy at the University of Leeds; an Honorary Member of the Thesis Eleven Centre for Cultural Sociology at LaTrobe University, Melbourne, Australia (where he has been a Distinguished Visiting Fellow); a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts; and a Research Associate of the Institute for the Study of Social Change at University College Dublin. He was also an Executive Committee member of the Histories of Violence web project that first began at the University of Leeds.

Keith studied for his Ph.D at the University of Leeds, and the ‘book of the thesis’ – Animals and Society – was awarded the British Sociological Association Philip Abrams Memorial Prize for Best First Sole-Authored Book in 1992.  Keith is on the editorial boards of The Journal of Classical SociologyJournal of Human Rights and Thesis Eleven. As well as his books on Bauman, Keith was the author of: The Two Sovereigns: Social Contradictions of European Modernity (1992), The Flaneur (1994), and Compassion, Morality and the Media (2001).

Keith’s main research interest is in thinking sociologically about the entwinement of culture and morality. For example, thanks to contemporary media we know about suffering in other parts of the world, but what do we do about it? What does this knowledge mean to us? Do the culture industries predetermine what we might know and do? His work raises these kinds of questions through the heritage of critical theory and, especially, the social thought of Zygmunt Bauman. His interest in culture has also resulted in publications on film and art.

Keith was a close friend and strong supporter of The Bauman Institute and Thesis Eleven. Together, we will now work on a suitable celebration of the personal and professional contribution that Keith so generously gave to us all.