Publications

Liquid Sociology: Metaphor in Zygmunt Bauman’s Analysis of ModernityPPCspine22mm

(Ashgate, November 2013)
Edited by Mark Davis

Zygmunt Bauman’s ‘liquid sociology’ confronts the awesome task of reminding individual men and women that an alternative way of living together is within our eminent capabilities, if only we start to think differently about our world. The metaphor of ‘liquidity’, which has become such a prominent feature of his writings since 2000, provides us with just such a new interpretation, with a novel ‘way of seeing’. Each chapter in this unique collection takes seriously Bauman’s analysis of modernity as ‘liquid’, throwing new light upon global social problems, as well as opening up a space for assessing the nature of Bauman’s contribution to sociology, and for understanding what may be gained and lost by embracing an artistic sensibility within the social sciences. With contributions from internationally renowned scholars, this book will appeal to all those interested in Bauman’s work, especially within sociology, social, political and cultural theory, and to anyone curious about the value of metaphor in interpreting the social world.

“Bauman is important for what he says. He’s also important for how he says it. His is a sociology which makes us think and act for ourselves. This new collection edited by Mark Davis uncovers Bauman’s method. The book adds to our knowledge of Bauman and, indeed, to reflection on the sociological enterprise itself. This collection matters.”

Keith Tester, University of Hull, UK


Thesis Eleven, Special Issue: Time and Technology in Liquid Modernity (October 2013)

Special Issue: Bauman and the Hurried Life (Thesis Eleven, 118, October 2013)

Dividing Time, or Loves Labours Lost…
Zygmunt Bauman

Hurried Lives: Dialectics of Time and Technology in Liquid Modernity
Mark Davis

The Temporal Horizon of ‘The Choice’: anxieties and banalities in ‘Time’, modern and liquid modern
Tom Campbell

Architects of time: Labouring on digital futures
Chris Till

Citizenship, Space and Time: Engagement, Identity and Belonging in a Connected World
Nick Ellison


Dyslexia: The Government of Reading

Dyslexia: The Government of Reading

(Palgrave Macmillan, October 2013)
Tom Campbell

The diagnosis of ‘Dyslexia’ and the medical problematisation of reading difficulties were almost unknown one hundred years ago, yet today the British Dyslexia Association estimates that up to ten per cent of the UK population may have some form of dyslexia, with numbers in the United States estimated to be as high as twenty per cent. The Government of Reading investigates how this problematisation developed and how a diagnostic category was shaped in response to this.


Bauman’s Compass: Navigating the current interregnum

Bauman’s Compass: Navigating the current interregnum

(Acta Sociologica, 2011, vol. 54, no. 2, pp. 183-194)
Mark Davis

This article focuses on Bauman’s contribution to political sociology and proposes that, in spite of his apparently pessimistic critique of contemporary society, his work has much to offer the ‘new positivity’ within the social sciences. Drawing upon his writings on socialism and utopia, as well as his frequently normative ‘liquid sociology’ period, the article pursues the idea that Bauman’s work offers a vital compass — understood as a particular way of orientating ourselves towards the present — such that we are better able to navigate the complexities and uncertainties of the current interregnum. Given the various social, economic, political and environmental crises that have come to characterize the first decade of the twenty-first century, the article concludes by suggesting that Bauman’s compass provides a useful sense of direction for rising to the task of rethinking global societies in order to meet these shared challenges to human social life.


Bauman’s Challenge: Sociological Issues for the 21st Century

Bauman’s Challenge: Sociological Issues for the 21st Century

(Palgrave Macmillan, 2010)
Edited by Mark Davis and Keith Tester

This unique and original collection by a mix of internationally renowned and emerging scholars uses critical engagements with Zygmunt Bauman’s sociology to identify and better understand those diverse challenges that face globalized human societies at the start of the twenty-first century, including the future of Europe, at a time when political power appears evermore fragmented; global social exclusion; ethics and morality in the face of epistemological and ontological uncertainty wrought by the challenge of relativism; the changing role of religion and theology in social life; the increasing bureaucratisation and micro–management of everyday life and the challenge this presents to genuine critical thinking; and, the enduring significance of sociology as a discipline that continues to address these challenges in evermore dynamic and insightful ways.

Throughout each of the original contributions included here, contributors go beyond mere exegesis on Bauman and, instead, show the multifarious and manifest uses to which his work might be put, and the contemporary issues that it reveals.  A concluding chapter by Bauman himself sets out ‘the triple challenge’ now facing humanity.

“The editors of Bauman’s Challenge have been successful in putting together not merely a pretty package of individually interesting chapters, but also, through the variety of contributions, to provide evidence for the thesis that Zygmunt Bauman’s work is indeed a challenge, to contemporary sociology and to contemporary society. Thus, the book is nothing less than a treasure trove not merely for ‘Baumaniacs’ and aficionados of his work, but also more generally for anyone compelled to understand what is going on in our society and how we may – as humans as well as scholars – react to the challenges confronting society and humanity alike.”

Michael Hviid Jacobsen, University of Aalborg, Denmark


freedom-and-consumerism

Freedom and Consumerism: A Critique of Zygmunt Bauman’s Sociology

(Ashgate, 2008)
Mark Davis

“This is one of the most important books about the most important sociologist of our time. Mark Davis adds a necessary and valuable critical edge to the debate, and shows how Bauman’s challenging and vital imagination can be used in the service of human freedom. An essential book.”

Keith Tester, University of Hull, UK

“Zygmunt Bauman has long been recognized as one of the most important social thinkers and public intellectuals in Europe. This outstanding book bears comparison with the very best existing work on Bauman, and is an extremely valuable complement to it.”

William Outhwaite, Newcastle University, UK

“Who is Zygmunt Bauman? “The greatest sociologist writing in English today…” announces an early chapter in this book. Well, if he isn’t, who is? Mark Davis, in his plain, open-minded and admirable study, takes nothing for granted about his grand subject, but works his way through an account of Bauman’s enormous oeuvre to a conclusion that leaves us in little doubt about the man’s importance.”

Fred Inglis, The Times Higher Education

“… I believe Mark Davis’s Freedom and Consumerism is perhaps the most stimulating, for many reasons. First, the author provides an excellent overview of Bauman’s works (at least those written in English). Second, even the reader who is already familiar with Bauman’s concepts and ideas will find here various sources and valuable perspectives, which comment upon his works. Third, Davis obviously knows very well the social sciences and the history of sociology. He situates Zygmunt Bauman in the twentieth century and he highlights his main influences, for example the ‘affinities’ between Bauman’s book on Modernity and the Holocaust and the classic Dialectic of Enlightenment by Horkheimer and Adorno, as mentioned by various observers. In my view, Mark Davis’s Freedom and Consumerism is the best introduction to Bauman’s books because it successfully highlights the original ideas that are disseminated into so many works.”

Yves Laberge, Universite Laval, Canada

Think Pieces

These publications by the Bauman Institute are intended to communicate our research and teaching output in an interesting and accessible format. The hope is that each Think Piece will help to stimulate debate in our main areas of interest, mindful of Professor Bauman’s advice never to refrain from questioning the ostensibly unquestionable premises of our everyday life.


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The Ethical Implications of the Essayistic

(Think Piece No.3, August 2014)
Bartek Dziadosz

Bartek Dziadosz reflects on the ethical implications of the essayistic form after the first public screening of The Trouble with Being Human These Days on 25 March 2014. In this short essay, the author discusses the use of narration in visual storytelling, the relationship between narration and subjectivity, and discusses the ideas of Timothy Corrigan and the “film essay”.

Reference: Dziadosz, Bartek (2014) ‘The Ethical Implications of the Essayistic’, The Bauman Institute: Think Pieces, No.3, August, 1-8.


Time and the Big Society

(Think Piece No.2, November 2013)head-cogs-think-pieces
Katy Wright

Lack of time is regularly cited as the main reason people do not engage in volunterring or participate in other community activities. However, this paper argues that simply having enough time does not necessarily facilitate greater involvement, in part because the perceived value of people’s time is contingent upon their skills and knowledge. Drawing on data from an enthographic case study exploring community participating in a neighbourhood in Leeds, I explore issues around the availability and value of people’s time in relation to local community engagement.

Reference: Wright, Katy (2013) ‘Time and the ‘Big Society”, The Bauman Institute: Think Pieces, No.2, November, 1-12.


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Flawed Consumers: An analysis of the riots of August 2011 informed by the thought of Zygmunt Bauman

(Think Piece No.1, July 2013)
Jack Palmer

The riots which erupted in England’s major cities in the summer of 2011 were for many the becoming-real of urban nightmares. What started as a reaction to the shooting of Mark Duggan1 descended into violence and looting which spread fire-like across the country. One would be hard-pressed to find a more exemplary ‘moral
panic’, an episode more threatening “to societal values and interests” (Cohen, 2002: 1). As David Starkey’s remarkable on-air meltdown on Newsnight (Starkey, 2011) aptly demonstrated, the country found itself in the grips of hysteria.

Reference: Palmer, Jack (2013) ‘Flawed Consumers: An analysis of the riots of August 2011 informed by the thought of Zygmunt Bauman’, The Bauman Institute: Think Pieces, No.1, July, 1-17.

Conference Papers and Workshops

Dr Mark Davis (Founding Director of BI)

10-14 July 2016
Title: ‘Freedom and Morality in Indebted Societies’ (with Tom Campbell)
Venue: ISA Conference, Universität Wien, Vienna, AUSTRIA

26 August 2015
Title: ‘Forever in debt time: morality, temporality, and subjectivity in neoliberal economies’ (with Tom Campbell)
Venue: ESA Conference, Czech Technical University, Prague, CZECH REPUBLIC

14 Jun 2011
Title: ‘When Elephants Fight, Pity the Grass… – Zygmunt Bauman’s Political Sociology’
Venue: State Library of Victoria, Melbourne, AUSTRALIA

28 Feb 2011
Title: ‘Responsible Consumption:’ Social Cohesion in a Context of Crisis’
Venue: The European Commission, Brussels, BELGIUM

20 Nov 2010
Title: ‘New Technologies in the Evolution of Contemporary Culture and Society’ (with Professors Zygmunt Bauman, Tony Bryant, and Griselda Pollock)
Venue: National Audiovisual Institute (NInA), Warsaw, POLAND

21 June 2010
Title: ‘Shared Social Responsibility as a Key Concept in Managing the Current Interregnum – An Interim Report for the Council of Europe’
Venue: Council of Europe, 55 Avenue Kleber, Paris, FRANCE

27 Oct 2009
Title: ‘Farewell to Aristippus?: Responsible Consumption in a Global Age’
Venue: Università degli Studi di Milano, Milan, ITALY

25 May 2009
Title: ‘The Tyranny of Freedom in a Consumer Society’
Venue: Hay-on-Wye Philosophy Festival, Hay-on-Wye, WALES