Thinking in Dark Times: Assessing the Legacy of Zygmunt Bauman

A symposium to mark the second anniversary of the death of the internationally renowned sociologist and cultural analyst Zygmunt Bauman, Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the University of Leeds.

The symposium is organised by The Bauman Institute and the Centre for Cultural Analysis, Theory and History (CentreCATH), supported by a grant from the Leeds Arts and Humanities Research Institute (LAHRI). It completes an eighteen month project entitled Thinking in Dark Times, over the course of which a transdisciplinary team has been assessing a number of strands around the work of Zygmunt Bauman including:

  • the significance and implications of Bauman’s major rethinking of modernity;
  • his definition of our era as liquid modernity with its radical implications for social subjectivity and ethics;
  • his analysis of evil;
  • his study of  liquid modern conditions for love and intimacy, fear and dispossession;
  • the precarity of labour and forced mobility;
  • the domination of our lives by the rationalities of consumption and disposability in deterritorialized capitalism.

The range of Bauman’s probing cultural sociology challenges many sociological paradigms while enriching and redirecting cultural analysis in the arts and humanities. The sympoisum will bring together a programme of international speakers who will explore the following issues:

  • What is the role of historical experience in biographical analysis of the shape and key concepts of Bauman’s cultural sociology?
  • How does the thinker register and theoretically transform lived historical experience of modernity and its catastrophes?
  • What is the public intellectual in changing modernities?
  • Who is the other, the stranger and the refugee in Bauman’s thought?
  • What are the conditions of precarity and work in liquid modernity?
  • What has Bauman to offer us in the analysis of liquid modern politics and activism?
  • How does cultural sociology speak to cultural analysis in the arts and humanities?


Irena Bauman, Bauman Lyons Architects, Leeds
Dariusz BrzeziƄski, Assistant Professor at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw
Antony Bryant, Professor of Informatics, School of Computing, Creative Technologies and Engineering, Leeds Beckett University
Bryan Cheyette, Professor of English Literature, School of English Literature, University of Reading
Mark Davis, Director of The Bauman Institute, School of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Leeds
Aleksandra Jasinska-Kania, Professor Emerita of Sociology at the Institute of Sociology, Warsaw University
Neil Lawson, Compass
Jack Palmer, Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, School of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Leeds
Griselda Pollock, Professor of Social and Critical Histories of Art, Director of CentreCATH, University of Leeds
Izabela Wagner-Saffray, Institute of Sociology, University of Warsaw
Janet Wolff, Emerita Professor, English, American Studies and Creative Writing, University of Manchester


The symposium is free to attend but booking is essential as places are limited. Please book here via Eventbrite.

For further information, please contact Professor Griselda Pollock (please include 'Bauman symposium' in the subject heading).

Image: Zygmunt Bauman © University of Leeds