Ali Rattansi
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Bauman on the Enlightenment and modernity
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Zygmunt Bauman analyzed the Enlightenment and indeed the whole of Western modernity and postmodernity from a perspective that focused on the changing status of intellectuals in relation to the state. Indeed, the very emergence of intellectuals as a separate and special social category is said by Bauman to be inextricably tied to the Enlightenment. Modernity and intellectuals were part and parcel of two major new phenomena that began to flourish during the eighteenth century. The term 'intellectual', Bauman points out, is a twentieth-century French invention. Bauman self-consciously presents an 'ideal-typical' version of the Enlightenment, but soon slips into a mode of argument which ignores the internal diversity of viewpoints. This argument begins to treat his deliberately selective portrayal of the Enlightenment as synonymous with the Enlightenment tout court.

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Bauman and contemporary sociology

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