There is another problem with Bauman’s ethicaldemand
regarding sympathy for the underdog and the poor. Did Bauman
think with suffering or only write about suffering? Outhwaite
(2010) suggests that Bauman was more interested in the production, not the experience, of suffering. Wilkinson (2007) has argued
in a short but powerful essay that Bauman’s whole style of writing
about poverty and the poor, and those who suffer, detracts from his
stated intention to create sympathy for them. First, as Wilkinson
notes, and I too have argued, Bauman had a tendency to ignore
practise a form of sociology
that continually fuses sociological analysis with ethics. The greatest strength of Bauman’s work has undoubtedly been that it has
always carried an ethical charge; it is no wonder that he was
delighted when Tester said in an interview with him (Bauman and
Tester 2001: 47) that his work was ‘dripping with ethical commitment’. ‘I am so pleased’, Bauman responded.
Of course, many sociologists would regard the constant intrusion of ethicaldemand into sociological analysis as unhelpful in
creating the forms of objectivity that can create public
Bordering intimacy is a study of how borders and dominant forms of intimacy, such as family, are central to the governance of postcolonial states such as Britain. The book explores the connected history between contemporary border regimes and the policing of family with the role of borders under European and British empires. Building upon postcolonial, decolonial and black feminist theory, the investigation centres on how colonial bordering is remade in contemporary Britain through appeals to protect, sustain and make family life. Not only was family central to the making of colonial racism but claims to family continue to remake, shore up but also hide the organisation of racialised violence in liberal states. Drawing on historical investigations, the book investigates the continuity of colonial rule in numerous areas of contemporary government – family visa regimes, the policing of sham marriages, counterterror strategies, deprivation of citizenship, policing tactics, integration policy. In doing this, the book re-theorises how we think of the connection between liberal government, race, family, borders and empire. In using Britain as a case, this opens up further insights into the international/global circulations of liberal empire and its relationship to violence.
who suffer the worst forms
of exclusion in contemporary Western societies. His eclecticism is
something I take delight in; and his refusal to treat the ethical and
the sociological as separate realms, thus making his sociology not
only an analytical exercise, but also a series of ethicaldemands on
the readers of his works, is admirable. This ethicaldemand, intrinsic to so much of his work, will perhaps be his greatest legacy.
1 Accessed February 2017.
2 Rorty’s influence on Bauman was particularly pronounced in Legislators
and Interpreters (1987) and
perhaps quite a radical promise, to become ‘unseeable’. If borders are
intimate, sticky and visible, refusing to be seen appears to offer a powerful
way to contest the domesticating power of the contemporary state.
Eduardo Glissant’s (1997: 189) appeal to a ‘right to opacity’ is useful
to consider here. If dominant modes of visuality are bound to colonial
power, and rest on hierarchies of the human, then Glissant makes a
political and ethicaldemand to be ‘unseeable’ and thus ‘unknowable’
to the modern state and its adjunct authorities – that is, to
Self-policing as ethical development in North Manchester
‘Don’t call the police on me…’
— 2010. “Crafting the neoliberal state: workfare, prisonfare, and social insecurity”.
Sociological Forum Vol. 25, pp. 197–220. Oxford: Blackwell.
Williams, Bernard. 1993. Shame and Necessity. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Zigon, Jarrett. 2007. “Moral breakdown and the ethicaldemand a theoretical framework for an anthropology of moralities”. Anthropological Theory 7 (2): 131–150.
The UK’s response to children during the refugee crisis
identities of people seeking asylum. Drawing on theoretical insights from work on emotions, I explore how UK government responses to refugee children have been framed and contested based on children's status as moral referents, and through consideration of the ethicaldemands they place on the nation. This chapter focuses on the case study of the death of Aylan Kurdi in September 2015 and the response of the UK government to child refugees caught up in the Refugee Crisis at this time. While recognising that there is an established precedent of contesting UK government
that it might have been as the inventors of monotheism, of ‘an infinite … ethically imperative God’, that the Jews drew upon themselves all the furies released in the course of the Nazi-led assault against them. Representing what he calls the ‘blackmail of perfection’, they perhaps incurred a hatred the more intense because of a recognition at some level by their tormentors of the desirability of the ethicaldemands embodied in the Jewish tradition. 39 The thesis is of a guilt turned outwards, of resentment focused on a people which had thought to make itself the