Several who wrote grateful memorials after Zygmunt Bauman’s death in January 2017 noted that his writings had offered hope. Although there have been times when I wondered if despair and disillusion might overcome his probing prose, I too found glimmers of hope in Bauman’s work. Some of my most abiding memories of Zygmunt are of discussions (in the late 1970s and early 1980s) about hope, which is a recurring—and fluctuating—theme in his work.1 In his early arguments about utopia, which could be read in relation to mid-twentieth-century postwar interest catalyzed by Ernst Bloch and others in relation to the violence, destruction, and potential for technologically augmented deterioration of those postwar conditions, Bauman always stressed the social origins of, obstacles to, and carriers of hope. His was a sociology of hope in the best sense.

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Political hope, seen in such titles as Socialism: The...

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