Ali Rattansi
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Zygmunt Bauman is one of that generation of Central and European intellectuals who literally lived through the disasters of the twentieth century. He experienced what others only write about. By the time he was twenty, Bauman had confronted anti-Semitism, Stalinism, Nazism and warfare. Bauman's recent writings travel light, burdened neither by research nor theoretical analytics, but borne up by an unusual life wisdom, a trained observer's eye and a fluent pen. Bauman himself cited the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci as a strong formative influence. Bauman absorbed from Gramsci the importance of 'culture' and in principle a non-deterministic Marxism. However, Bauman failed to do justice to the manner in which Gramsci saw cultural hegemony as a legitimating but always unstable process that shored up the power of the elites and upper classes in the Western European social order.

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Bauman and contemporary sociology

A critical analysis

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