Ali Rattansi
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Sociology and postmodernity
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Zygmunt Bauman argues that the very notion of 'society', theorised within orthodox sociology as identical to a nation-state, needs to be rethought. For in a postmodern world of globalisation the sovereignty of the nation-state is being undermined, and a strict differentiation between what is 'inside' and what is 'outside' a society is increasingly implausible. Bauman calls the 'postmodern habitat' a complex system which is radically unpredictable and one which defies any kind of statistical analysis of regular patterns of behaviour. Social actors have agency, they have autonomy, such that they are 'only partly, if at all constrained, in their pursuit of whatever they have institutionalized as their purpose'. Bauman's 'sociology of postmodernity' remains within a conventional paradigm; nothing in Intimations leads to a rethinking of the methods of sociological research, and indeed Bauman explicitly rules out new ways of doing sociology.

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Bauman and contemporary sociology

A critical analysis


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