Born in Poland in 1925 and passing away in the United Kingdom in 2017, Zygmunt Bauman was one of the foremost sociologists and cultural and political theorists of our time. But for all that Bauman is associated with such concepts as post-modernity and ambivalence, his influence on me is, I imagine, at least as profound as that of Michel Foucault, Emmanuel Levinas, and Jean Baudrillard was on him. I first met Bauman in October 1979 when I began work on my BA (Hons) in sociology under his tutelage. Bauman had recently published Hermeneutics and Social Science (1978), an important book that introduced the hermeneutic tradition of interpretation to students of cultural sociology, political philosophy, and history.

Moreover, before the volumes that were to make him a global figure, such as Freedom (1988), Modernity and the Holocaust (1989), and Postmodern Ethics (1993), Bauman was instrumental...

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