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Thinking Sociologically the Bauman and May way

by Malcolm Richardson and Andrew Roberts

Contents - Ways - Bauman - Sociology - Oneself - Viewing - Bonds - Decisions - Gifts - Body - Time - Boundaries - Consumption

There are different ways of thinking sociologically. The three "classic" way are those of Karl Marx - Emile Durkheim - and Max Weber

This web page looks at the way of Zygmunt Bauman, who published a book called Thinking Sociologically in 1990 and a younger man, called Tim May, who revised the book in 2001.

Bauman and May write about three strategies of thinking sociologically (which are not quite the same as the three classic thinkers).

Tim May in 2011

Marx, Durkheim and Weber are dead sociologists, but Bauman and May are still with us.

Bauman and May's way of thinking sociologically is to consider our individual actions as part of webs of interdependency between people. They conceptualise an interplay between our actions and what, at one point, they call the structure of the world. The book starts with social action and webs of interdependency and works towards concepts of social structure, social order and social boundaries. As it proceeds, it considers the questions that this way of thinking raises in particular contexts.

Zygmunt Bauman

Bauman was born and educated in Poland, but since 1971 has taught sociology at Leeds University.

When Bauman was born (1925), Poland lay between the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the east and Germany on the west. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was, as its name implies, a communist country whose official social theory was marxism. In Germany, Max Weber, one of the founders of sociology, had died in 1920. Two of the greatest influences on Bauman's sociology were marxism and the critique of marxism made by Weber and other German theorists.

Adolf Hitler was a major influence on the lives and work of Zygmunt and his wife, Janina (below). The first volume of Hitler's Mein Kampf was published in the same year (1925) that Zygmunt was born. Read the summary of Mein Kampf published in an English dictionary of politics in 1939, remembering that Zygmunt and Janina were both Jews.

In 1948 Zygmunt Bauman met Janina Lewinson at Warsaw University. They married.

Thirty eight years later, Janina Bauman published memoirs of her adolescence in the Warsaw Ghetto, followed by her memoirs of her subsequent life in Poland.

It was through reading Janina's memoirs that Zygmunt confronted the reality of the holocaust and the treatment of Jews during the second world war. His Modernity and The Holocaust (1989) was written as a consequence.

Janina Bauman Janina Bauman

The fourth chapter of Thinking Sociologically, arguing that aspects of modern society involve a "silencing of moral considerations", includes the theories that Zygmunt Bauman developed from reflecting on his wife's experiences.

The Discipline of Sociology

What is Sociology? and how is it distinguished from other ways of thinking?

Bauman and May argue that the following answer is wrong or over-simplified. What do you think?

"history is about the actions that took place in the past, whereas sociology concentrates on current actions... anthropology tells us of human societies ... at different stages of development from our own ..." ( Bauman and May 2001, p. 3)

What, according to Bauman and May, is Sociology?

How is it distinguished from other ways of thinking?

This is what they say:

"Sociology is distinguished through viewing human actions as elements of wider figurations..." ( Bauman and May 2001, p. 5)

Figurations are defined, later, as "networks of dependencies".
Read about figures and figurational sociology

What does this mean?

Bauman and May argue that sociology is about actions which are social.

By "actions" they mean things that individuals do that are meaningful in some way. By "social" they mean that the action involves other individuals in some way.

Sociology views human actions, not in isolation, but as part of a wider network of human action, in which our actions are influenced by the intentions and actions of others, and vice versa. This is how Malcolm Richardson explains this:

"When I'm alone in my room and talk to myself, this is not social action, because no one else is involved. However, when I'm speaking as a participant of a seminar group, this action is social because it is part of a discussion involving others. What I say, or don't say, is in part, influenced by what others say, or don't say."
Does this mean that things are only social when you are with people and are not social when you are alone?

She reads - is she being
anti-social? Do you agree with this suggestion?
"When someone is sitting on their own in a room doing their homework, they are alone and no other person is involved, but if they doing their homework in the library there are other people around, so it is social."

Think a bit more about this. When you are sitting alone doing your homework, you are reading books written by other people, revising notes of lectures given by other people, writing essays to be read by other people. You may even be searching the world wide web for information and ideas, and that involves more people than you are ever likely to fit into a room!

Wikipedia's symbol for a
social network Wikipedia's symbol for sociology is a diagram representing social networks. It says that figurational sociology traces the shape of society by tracing the links between individuals to show how they fit into networks.

Some sociologists (Durkheim, for example) argue that we are part of a social network that stretches back into the depths of human history and all around the globe.

Think about what you are doing when you read a book by a dead author. Your mind is interacting with the thoughts of someone who is no longer alive. But if you fall asleep doing your homework in the library, there may be a lot of people around, but you are not interacting with them.

Study the difference between action and behaviour

What is Common Sense?

The first part of Thinking Sociologically is called "Action, Identity and Understanding in Everyday Life." Everyday life is something we all live, without being sociologists. Bauman and May appear to use the term "common sense" to refer to the ideas we all have that enable us to live our lives.

"All of us live in the company of other people and interact with each other. In the process we display an extraordinary amount of tacit knowledge that enable us to get on with the business of everyday life." ( Bauman and May 2001, p. 6)
This is the
"rich yet disorganised, non-systematic, often inarticulate and ineffable knowledge that we call common sense" ( Bauman and May 2001, p. 6)

Tacit knowledge is there without being necessarily stated. If it is inarticulate and ineffable it is unspoken and possibly not capable of being expressed.

"tacit knowledge...orients our conduct without us necessarily being able to express how and why it operates in particular ways" ( Bauman and May 2001, p. 21)

Bauman and May say that

"the power of common sense depends on its self-evident character.... In its turn, this rests on the routine, habitual character of daily life... We need this in order to get on with our lives. When repeated often enough, things tend to become familiar and the familiar is seen as self-explanatory..." ( Bauman and May 2001, p 10)

How do common sense and sociology differ?

If you do sociology the Bauman and May way there is a connection between common sense and sociology because sociology is about the things we do and the meanings they have for us, in relation to other people.

So, how do common sense and sociology differ? What does a student of sociology do that everybody is not doing all the time?

Bauman and May suggest that

1) "Sociology .. makes an effort to subordinate itself to the rigorous rules of responsible speech".

2) Sociology draws on a larger field of knowledge than common sense ( Bauman and May 2001, p.10)

3) Sociology "starts its survey from figurations (networks of dependencies) rather than from individual actors or single actions" ( Bauman and May 2001, p. 11)

4) Sociology does not take things for granted, but examines that which is taken-for-granted. ( Bauman and May 2001, p. 12)

Natural science - sociology - and common sense

Bauman and May say that

"physical and biological sciences do not appear to be concerned with spelling out their relationship to common sense" ( Bauman and May 2001, p. 5)

"Common sense... appears to have nothing to say of the matters that preoccupy physicists, chemists or astronomers" ( Bauman and May 2001, p. 6)

Bauman and May argue that common sense is not thought to have much relevance to physics, chemistry and astronomy because

"the objects explored by the physical sciences appear only under very special circumstances, for example, through the lens of gigantic telescopes... Products of such processing then have to withstand the critical scrutiny of other scientists. They will not have to compete with common sense for the simple reason that there is no commonsensical point of view with respect to the matters they pronounce on" ( Bauman and May 2001, p. 6)

HOWEVER, they argue

"scientific findings may have social, political and economic implications that, in any democratic society, are not for scientists to have the last word on" ( Bauman and May 2001, p. 6)

Three strategies for thinking sociologically
Bauman and May 2001, pp 170-175)

Bauman and May think it is useful to think of three perspectives or strategies having shaped what is thought of as sociology today. These are what they call scientism, hermeneutics and pragmatism. Elements of each of these three ways of thinking sociologically have converged to shape what is accepted as sociological knowledge. ( Bauman and May 2001, p. 170)

Strategy 1: replication of the scientific enterprise
Leading thinker Durkheim.

The first perspective is what they call scientism, This is trying to be scientific in a way that is seen as similar to other sciences, such as astronomy, physics, chemistry, biology, zoology, neurology and (possibly) psychology. This approach, known as positivism, is often traced back to the work of Auguste Comte (1798-1857), but Bauman and May focus on the later work of Emile Durkheim,

Durkheim, following Comte, thought that sociology should be established as a science in its own right, related to and coordinated with the other sciences, and with its own specific field of study.

"Durkheim found this in social facts. These are collective phenomena that are irreducible to any one individual. As shared beliefs and patterns of behaviour, they can be treated as things to be studied in an objective, detached fashion. These things appear to individuals as a reality that is tough, stubborn and independent of their will" ( Bauman and May 2001, p. 171)

Strategy 2: reflection and modification
Associated with Max Weber

By "reflection and modification" Bauman and May may mean that human beings think about the world and alter it as a result of our thoughts.

The second perspective is what they call hermeneutics. To a large extent, this is Bauman and May's way of thinking sociologically. If you have understood what they have already said about sociology, you will have begun to understand hermeneutics.

In 1978, not long after he settled in England, Bauman published a book called Hermeneutics and Social Theory - Approaches to understanding in which he wrote:

"The life-long methodological preoccupations of Weber, centred around the categories of understanding and interpretation..." ((Bauman, Z. 1978) p. 68)

Understanding and interpretation are the two words that help most to explain in English what hermeneutics is.

In German, understanding is Verstehen. The word hermeneutics is based on an ancient Greek word for interpreter, and means the scientific (or scholarly) study of interpretations.

Some things in the world we can explain in terms of causes and effects. Physics, for example, thinks of planetary bodies as exerting a pull on one another that results in the planet's path curving. As a result, planets circulate around the sun.

Human beings are subject to the same laws of cause and effect. If you fall over, the earth will pull you towards it and you will hit the ground. But we need something other than the laws of cause and effect to explain human actions. This is what Max Weber's way of thinking sociologically focuses on.

" In action is included all human behaviour when and in so far as the acting individual attaches a subjective meaning to it." (Weber, M. 1947 p.88)

"That human actions are meaningful is the foundation of hermeneutics" (Bauman and May 2001, p. 172)

Imagine that you are reading an historic document, a letter for example. We will call this "the text". What should you be doing in order to explain it? Hermeneutics argues that you should first be trying to imagine what the author meant by it, and then that you should relate his or her meaning to the social circumstances of the time.

"In order to understand its meaning, the interpreters of the text must put themselves in the author's 'place'; that is, to see the text through the author's eyes and think the author's thoughts. They should then link the author's actions to the historical situation in which they find themselves" (Bauman and May 2001, p. 172)

An example of Weber doing this is provided by his famous book The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (Weber, M. 1930). In this, Weber related his interpretation of the way different religious groups understood their actions to the effects of their actions on economic development.

Strategy 3: demonstration by effect:

By "demonstration by effect", Bauman and May are referring to the American theory called pragmatism. (Bauman and May 2001, p. 173), or instrumentalism. This is their third strategy.

Bauman and May name William James (p. 175) and Robert Park (p. 175) as part of the American pragmatic school. John Dewey at the University of Chicago developed pragmatism as a formal philosophy and his colleague, George Herbert Mead is the main member of this school discussed in Thinking Sociology. See below

Bauman and May are critical of pragmatism's theory of truth. This is an aspect of pragmatism that is stressed by William James. But if what pragmatism says about truth is it weakness, the theory of human action developed by George Herbert Mead, may be its strong point.

The pragmatic theory of truth

William James described pragmatism, as taught by John Dewey and others at Chicago University, as "the instrumental view of truth.

"'truth' means... that ideas .. Become true just in so far as they help us to get into satisfactory relation with other parts of our experience, to summarize them and get about among them by conceptual short-cuts instead of following the interminable succession of particular phenomena. Any idea upon which we can ride, so to speak; any idea that will carry us prosperously from any one part of our experience to any other part, linking things satisfactorily, working securely, simplifying, saving labor; is true for just so much, true in so far forth, true instrumentally. " James, W. 1907 p. 58)

Mead's theory of human action

Strategy 1: replication of the scientific enterprise

Emile Durkkheim Emile Durkheim Emile Durkheim (1858-1917) is often thought of as the founder of sociology, the science of society. He developed Rousseau's concept that society is not the sum of its individual members, but is a reality in itself, based on the general will. Durkheim removed this from its origin in State of Nature Theory. He argued that humans are by nature social. Society is not something that came about by individuals joining together. We have always been part of society. Society is, therefore, a reality which we can study, and Durkheim's project was to develop the scientific study of it

Richardson and Roberts 2011, Emile Durkheim, outlines Durkheim's way of thinking sociologically. Roberts 1997, chapter 6: "Durkheim and Weber's Contrasting Imaginations" contrasts Durkheim's way with Weber's.

Strategy 2: reflection and modification
Max Weber Max Weber (1864-1920) was a German political economist who became a founder of what we call sociology. However, he was critical of the kind of sociology that treats society as real.

Weber's idea about sociology is that it should be a theory of social action. Action is something that has meaning to the individual who does it. Sociology should start inside the individual with what his or her actions mean to him or her, and work outwards to understanding any laws or regularities that govern the whole of society.

Strategy 3: demonstration by effect:

John Dewey and George Herbert
Mead George Herbert Mead (left) and John Dewey were founding members of the department of philosophy at Chicago University in 1894

Part One:

Action - identity and understanding

in everyday life

Scribbled notes on Andrew's copy: Action: free and constrained - Identity: what other people think we are and what we think we are (See also Bonds that unite: Speaking of 'we') - Understand: "knowledge" - Everyday life: life worlds - Understanding in everyday life (See viewing and sustaining our lives): taken for granted and common sense.

Oneself with Others

Me and You: Our Social Selves

Download "Notes on Oneself with Others" for printing.

The first three chapters of Bauman and May are about identity . Identity is what something or someone is. Your identity is who you are. Who do you think you are?

The chapter title "Oneself with Others" suggests that your identity is related in some way to society. Bauman and May are discussing, in their own way, the relationship between the individual and society.

" Socialisation never ends in our lives. For this reason sociologists distinguish between the stages of socialisation (primary, secondary and tertiary)" ( Bauman and May 2001, p.26)

internalise: how the group gets inside your head. That happens in socialisation, as we learn to use and know the meaning of language. We are constrained by other people's expectations of us, including our image of who they think we are. The image of who we are that we share with other people is a central part of our identity.

"how we internalise group understandings"
( Bauman and May 2001, p.22)

Durkheim's theory of socalisation is illustrated in this chart constructed by Dina Ibrahim

Dina quotes Everett Wilson: "for Durkheim, the school had a crucial and clearly specified function: to create a new being, shaped according to the needs of society.
# While this might seem restrictive and repressive to child-centered educators, Durkheim argues that the very reverse is true.

Only by imposing limits can the child be liberated from the inevitable frustrations of incessant striving". (Wilson. E. 1973, p.xv)

It might be argued that, for Durkheim. the child gains the positive freedom of being a moral being within society at the cost of sacrificing his or her negative freedom of unruly desire. Bauman and May are opposed to the positivism of Durkheim, but we can see that, they to, investigate the dialogue between freedom and constraint.

Freedom and Constraint
( Bauman and May 2001, pp 18-22)

Human beings are both free and constrained.

Freedom has been a very important concept in the history of social science. It has complex meanings and by following this link you can study some of the many ways it has been used.

The contradictions investigated by Rouuseau are investigated in different way by Durkheim, George Herbert Mead and Bauman and May

In the eighteenth century, Jean Jacques Rousseau wrote
"Man is born free; and everywhere he is in chains"

By "man", Rousseau means human beings.

Studying the relationship between freedom and constraint is one of the ways that social theorists have studied what makes us human.

Jean Jacques Rousseau

Rousseau made his statement about freedom and constraint at the beginning of a chapter on how we pass from a "state of nature" to a "state of society". This was also the main interest of George Herbert Mead in the twentieth century. Mead, like Rousseau, was interested in the evolution of animal like humans into social humans, and what the difference between animals and humans is.

Bauman and May argue that we experience ourselves as free in the sense of being self-determining, but also experience ourselves as "constrained by circumstances" ( Bauman and May 2001, p.17)

"We often consider ourselves to be the authors of our destinies and so have the power to act in determining our conduct and controlling our lives... Yet is this really how life works?" ( Bauman and May 2001, p.18)

We list below the main constraints on our freedom and ability to choose that Bauman and May talk about

Living amongst others constrains (limits) our freedom to think and act just as we please. Bauman and May suggest this can be frustrating, but, as you read through the list, you may think that constraint is not necessarily a bad thing.


Habits, actions that we do without thinking, are necessary. Bauman and May write about
Centipede who has forgotten
how to walk "Kipling's centipede, who walked effortlessly on all her hundred legs until a sycophantic courtier began to praise her exquisite memory. It was this memory that allowed her never to put down the eighty- fifth leg before the thirty-seventh, or the fifty-second before the nineteenth. Having been made self-conscious, the poor centipede was no longer able to walk." ( Bauman and May 2001, p.10)


But, we are held responsible, even for our habits.


"if we break rules that are meant to guide people's conduct, then we may be punished. The act of punishment is intended as a confirmation that we are responsible for our actions. Rules, in this sense, orient not only our actions, but also their coordination with others..." ( Bauman and May 2001, p.18)

Group expectations

"How we act and see ourselves is informed by the expectations of the groups to which we belong" ( Bauman and May 2001, p. 20)

"... we owe the ends which we pursue, the means employed in their pursuit and how to distinguish between those who may and may not assist us in the process, to the groups to which we belong. An enormous amount of practical knowledge is thereby gained without which we would be unable to conduct our daily activites and orient ourselves to particular life projects." ( Bauman and May 2001, p. 21)

But as the group enables us, it also contrains our freedom. The groups we belong to impose cultural constraints - values, ideas, beliefs, customs, and expectations.

conflicting cultural ideas when we move into other groups


Challenges to self-identity can lead sometimes to feelings of alienation, disorientation or homesickness.

Material resources (lack of money, employment, or decent education, housing, health care).

Symbolic resources

Deficits in knowledge and experience (limiting career choices).

One's 'Self' with 'Others' - sociological perspectives

Although we might feel that 'others' often constrain our freedom to act -we rely on 'others' for our sense of self - of who we are.

Self-identity - who am I?

We gain our sense of 'self' through our daily interaction with others - through 'Symbolic Interaction'.

(Malcolm Richardson)

George Herbert Mead George Herbert Mead (1863-1931), an American social scientist, argued that human behaviour is the outcome of a complex process involving the use of symbolic forms of communication, such as language.

Our ability to communicate and interact with others, is due to our possession of a 'self'. But, Mead argued, we are not born with a self. His contribution was to show how a self can develop from our animal nature, and how, as it does, mind (the power to think) and society emerge as well.

Mead's key work is, Mind, Self, and Society, put together by his students after his death, and published in 1934.


The theatrical idea of playing a role is one that is used by many sociologists, including Mead.

Follow this link for an analysis of the theatrical imagery of Mead and other sociologists, linked to their writings.

Mead argues that there is no "general tendency" of animals or humans to imitate one another. In humans, copying other people is usually a conscious act. When children learn to do things that others do they are, he argues, creatively playing a role.

"A child plays at being a mother, at being a teacher, at being a policeman; that is, it is taking different roles, as we say."
We need, therefore, to understsnd how the ability to play roles developed.

Subject and object

In psychological terms, animals and humans are subjects that perceive objects. A stone does not see the ground on which it lies. Animals, including humans, have interior (subjective) images in our heads of the things around us.

In this diagram, the carrot is the object that the subject (the person) sees. We could say that there is a reflection of the carrot in the person's head that we call the idea. This idea remains, even when the carrot is not visible any longer.

Mead argues that human beings differ from animals in being able to see ourselves as objects. We have an image or idea of who we are.

"The self has the characteristic that it is an object to itself, and that characteristic distinguishes it from other objects and from the body"

Mead called this self-image that we have me. The unreflective being that we share with animals, he called I. These are not two separate people, but different aspects of the process of living as a human being. As a socialised human being, you (I) have an image of yourself (me)

Mead's life work focused on developing a theory of how this ability to see ourselves developed from our original animal natures.

Stages in the development of the self

Bauman and May (pages 22-23) suggest that we "internalise group understandings" in three stages. Their stages are based on a text-book chapter by Herbert Blumer, in 1937, that first applied the term "symbolic interactionists" to theorists such as Mead. You may like to read Blumer on these three stages.

Two of these stages (play and game) can be related easily to Mead's ideas. The first (imitation) is more easily related to Blumer's own theories.

Mead sketched in many stages in the development of the ability to see ourselves as we think others see us. According to Mead, these are also stages in the development of the mind (the power to think) and of society. So as you study how your identity (self) develops, you are also studying the origin and development of thought and society.


Mead's theory has mind, self and society "emerging" (developing) from the previous natural inter-actions (gestures) of animals. Animals play at fighting without actually doing so. The moves in this play-acting are what Mead calls gestures. A snap in the air without actually biting is like a symbol of the real thing.

Language and symbol

Gestures precede symbols. According to Mead, language evolves from interacting with one another through gestuures.

"if somebody shakes his fist in your face you assume that he has not only a hostile attitude but that he has some idea behind it... When, now, that gesture means this idea behind it and it arouses that idea in the other individual, then we have a significant symbol... we have a symbol which answers to a meaning in the experience of the first individual and which also calls out that meaning in the second individual. Where the gesture reaches that situation it has become what we call "language."


Language and symbol enable play in human children to go much further than it does in animals. In human children, the roles are internalised so that a child can run through the play in his or her own mind. This is how the concept of self arises. The child learns to think about him or herself as if he or she were another person and to see how he or she interacts with other people on the stage of life.

Games In games played to rules by a number of players, a child learns to take role of the 'generalised other'. The generalised other is a position that anyone might occupy, just as anyone might play a role within a game.

"in a game where a number of individuals are involved, ... the child taking one role must be ready to take the role of everyone else... at some moments he has to have three or four individuals present in his own attitude, such as the one who is going to throw the ball, the one who is going to catch it, and so on. These responses must be, in some degree, present in his own make-up. In the game, then, there is a set of responses of such others so organized that the attitude of one calls out the appropriate attitudes of the other. This organization is put in the form of the rules of the game. Children take a great interest in rules."


Bringing together what Bauman and May say about prejudice in different parts of Thinking Sociologically

At the end of chapter one, Bauman and May say that societies and groups seek to justify the degree of freedom and lesser degree of dependence that they enjoy in relation to other groups. They add that

"when gaps in our knowledge of others are left, they are frequently filled by prejudice. How sociologists look at these issues is a subject to which we shall turn in chapter 2. ( Bauman and May 2001, p.27)

The index links prejudice to group identity (pages 32-34, "barriers to social exchange" (page 38), the status of limited humanity (pages 75-76 and to the concepts of race, racism and xenophobia.

The link to "status of limited humanity" is to the section "Morality and Action" . Although this section does not use the word prejudice, we can conclude from it that, for Bauman and May, Prejudice is when one group perceives another group as less than human.

Viewing and Sustaining Our Lives

Us and Them: Groups and Boundaries

By their title, Viewing and Sustaining Our Lives, Bauman and May may be suggesting that we are engaged in a constant battle to sustain (maintain) our vision of who we are. A battle of identity. This struggle is particularly a feature of the modern urban environment (city) because in traditional communities, like villages, everyone knows who we are.

"The boundaries between 'us' and 'them' provide for the maintenance, via distinction, of identity." ( Bauman and May 2001, p.183)

Georg Simmel Georg Simmel (1858-1913), a German social scientist, attempted to create a sociology that is based on forms of interaction between people. He thought of society as a web or network of interactions. An institution, like the family, was thought of as a routine way in which individuals interact.

Read Simmel's essay on The Stranger

Section: Sustaining our lives: interaction, understanding and social distance

" Alfred Schütz ... suggested that from any individual point of view" other paople can be arranged in a line from those we have a lot to do with to those who are furthest from us. (Bauman and May p.29).

Who are the people whose actions play a key role in shaping our daily lives - and where are they located in terms of their social distance from us? What conclusions might you draw from this?

Schutz developed phenomenological sociology from the philosophy of Edmund Husserl.

Husserl wrote about the life world. Bauman and May write about life-worlds on page 9.

Zygmunt Bauman described his way of thinking sociologically as hermeneutics, which has a lot in common with phenomenology.

"... our self-identity is bound up with the social identities that we portray to others and those we encounter in our everyday existence" ( Bauman and May 2001, p.30)

Section: 'Us' within the 'other'

The linguistics theory of binary opposition argues that concepts are defined in contrast with other items in the same system of thought. What characterises each most is being whatever the others are not. See self and other

Categorising people by binary opposition des not necessarily imply that we fear or oppose them. Bauman and May frequently suggest that it does, but they also raise the possibility that it might not. In their "Questions for Reflection" (p.183), for example, they ask if there is a common bond that humanity shares, and this is the theme of the section on morality and action in chapter four.

Bauman and May say that

"oppositions become tools that we draw upon to chart the world" ( Bauman and May 2001, p.30)

They say we distinguish

"between 'us' and 'them'. One stands for the group to which we feel we belong and understand. The other... stands for a group which we cannot access or do not wish to belong" (Bauman, Z. and May, T. 2000, p.30)

And argue that the solidarity of the "in-group" is dependent on the "imaginary opposition" of an "out-group".

"an out-group is precisely that imaginary opposition to itself that the in-group needs for its self-identity, for its cohesiveness, for its inner solidarity and emotional security" (Bauman, Z. and May, T. 2000, p.31)


Bauman and May contrast "face to face groups" to larger groups we can relate to in our imagination. The larger groups include classes, genders, ethnicities and nations. These, they say, lack the substance that can derive from daily interaction (in a family, for example) and

"no effort to induce loyalty in large groups stands a chance of success if there is not an accompanying practice of hostility towards and out-group" (Bauman, Z. and May, T. 2000, p.32)

In this situation, constant vigilance is needed to guard against the prejudices of refusing to recognise virtues in the enemies, of condemning the enemy for what we excuse in ourselves, and from adopting immoral means in conflict with the out-group which we would condemn if they employed them.

Zygmunt Bauman and his wife Janina Lewinson/Bauman had similar Jewish backgrounds to Henri Tajfel who wrote "Cognitive aspects of prejudice" in 1969. Reading Janina's account of her childhood in Nazi Germany helps us to understand the significance of these issues for the Baumans.

"... we are us, as long as there is 'them', makes sense only together, in their oppositions to each other... Both concepts derive their meaning from the dividing line they service. Without such a division, without the possibility of opposing ourselves to 'them', we would be hard put to make sense of our identities" ( Bauman and May 2001, pp 34-35)

Section: Viewing and living lives: boundaries and outsiders

"'Strangers' defy the above divisions. Indeed, what they oppose is the opposition itself: that is: divisions of any kind in terms of boundaries that guard them and thus clarify the social world which results from these practices" ( Bauman and May 2001, p.35)

The stranger is someone you do not know that enters your life rather than being outside it. Georg Simmel argued that sociologists should study what is involved in relating to all people classified as strangers - what "shape" does our relationship to "strangers take"?

An example from Janina Bauman's experience, that you could think about, is the strangers who sheltered Jewish people from the Nazis. A very different example would be the strangers you passed in the street today.


"In cases where territorial separation is incomplete... spiritual separation grows in importance... Barriers of prejudice may ... prove far more effective than the thickest of walls" (Bauman and May 2001, p.38)

Segregation and movement in the city

"The societies in which most of us live are urban; that is people live together in great density, travel continuously and in the course of their daily business they enter diverse areas inhabited by diverse people." ( Bauman and May 2001, p.38)

Bauman and May distinguish between groups that are "separated" (by countryside, for example) and "urban" societies. ( Bauman and May 2001, p.38) We could think of a village as an example of a separated community (see chapter three on communities). In the village, everyone knows one another. The villagers do not have to identify themselves because everyone knows who they are. Strangers are people who visit the village, not people who live there.

In the city, however,

"We live among strangers, among whom we are strangers ourselves" ( Bauman and May 2001, p.39)

To segregate is to separate one group of people from another. The village community is separated from other groups by countryside. In the city we have to actively sustain our separation from others. Bauman and May identify processes by which we do this:

segregation by appearance

"Those who have more disposable income than others can afford to dress in particular ways and these act as codes for classifying persons by the splendour, misery or oddity of their appearance" ( Bauman and May 2001, p.39)

zones Are these people (left and below) brought together or separated by the peculiarities of their dress?

segregation by space

"The territory of shared urban spaces is divided into areas in which one person is more likely to be found than others" ( Bauman and May 2001, p.39)

This 1925 chart by Chicago sociologist Ernest Watson Burgess depicts the zones in which Chicago "naturally" developed.


segregation by inattention

"When moving within these areas and the gaze of strangers who have the potential to disrupt our self-identities, the most we can do is to try to remain inconspicuous, or at any rate to avoid attracting attention. Erving Goffman found that such civil inattention is paramount among the techniques that make life in a city, among strangers, possible" ( Bauman and May 2001, p.40)

Who is paying attention and who inattention?

Police urged to rid Cardiff's streets of homeless in time for Olympics Wales Online 23.7.2012

  • Summary
    "The boundaries between 'us' and 'them' provide for the maintenance, via distinction, of identity." (p.183)

    Moral responsibility

    "A human relationship is moral when a feeling of responsibility arises within us for the welfare and well-being of the 'other'" (Bauman and May 2001, p.41)

    "As we have seen, physical proximity may be cleansed of its moral aspect" ( Bauman and May 2001, p.41)

    We now move from the complexities of maintaining identity in the city to the possible simplicities of maintaining it in a community

    The Bonds that Unite: Speaking of 'We'

    We Together: Communities, Consensus and Conflict - Organisations, Order and Disorder

    Chapters three and four are easier to understand if you think about the distinction Bauman and May make between modern and traditional societies. The community bonds that unite are stronger in traditional societies, the organisational bonds are more developed as a feature of modern societies.

    Bauman and May make a distinction between communities (first part of this chapter) and organisations [second parrt]. These are what Weber would have called ideal types and which we could think of as models for analysing reality rather than pictures of specific realities. Bauman and May say

    " Neither the image of community, nor the model of organisation, adequately describes the practice of human interaction. The two models sketch artificially separated, polar models of action" ( Bauman and May 2001, p.53)

    Communities: Forging consensus and dealing with conflict

    Max Weber makes a distinction between two types of social solidarity: communal and associative

    Group dancing is a communal form of soidarity

    The New York Clearing House is an associative form of soidarity

    Weber says that communal solidarity is a subjective feeling individuals have of belonging together. It can be an emotional or a traditional bond.

    If, however, people relate only on a rational calculation of what they can get out of the association (like in Adam Smith), the bond is associative.


    Bauman and May also make distinctions between different kinds of togetherness. Perhaps we should consider their ideas of togetherness as arranged on a spectrum from community at one end to organisation at the other.

    Some communities may appear natural, especially to people who are born into them. Others are consciously forged or constructed. But, perhaps there are elements of social construction in all types of community?

    Bauman and May say that:

    "A collection of people, who are not clearly defined or circumscribed, but who agree to something that other people reject and bestow an authority upon those beliefs, may be referred to as a community" ( Bauman and May 2001, p.43)

    In this quotation the word may is important. This is what Bauman and May refer to as a "spiritual unity" of people who do do not live in the same area, separate from others with characteristics holding them together (are not clearly defined or circumscribed).


    This picture shows a chief and selected companions taken in 1919 somewhere in the East Indies. This isolated tribe were visited by United States photographer who posed them in a way that would appeal to the erotic interests of a western audience. What kind of bond unites the tribe and the photographer?
    "The common bond that unites us is at its fullest among isolated people who conduct all their lives, from birth to death, in the same company and who never venture into other places and are not visited by members of other groups" ( Bauman and May 2001, p.44)

    [BUT] Bauman and May argue

    "Situations such as these hardly ever exist. Instead, community is a postulate" [something claimed rather than held], an expression of desire and a call to mobilize and close ranks, rather than a reality" (Bauman and May 2001, p.44)

    Calculation, rationalisation and group life


    "... there are communities that bring people together solely for the aim of pursuing defined tasks.... we can speak of purpose groups or organisations." ( Bauman and May 2001, p.46)

    Max Weber " Max Weber... regarded the proliferation of organisation in contemporary society as a sign of the continuous rationalisation of everyday life. Rational action, as distinct from traditional and affective action... is orientated towards clearly stated ends. Actors are then enjoined to concentrate their thoughts and efforts on selecting suitably effective, efficient and economical means towards those ends. ( Bauman and May 2001, p.48)
    Instrumentally-rational action chooses the most effective means to secure desired objectives.

    This way an engineer builds bridges

    But this way, also, a social engineer builds organisations

    Bureaucracy = Organisation

    "For Weber, the characteristics of organisation, or more specifically what he calls 'bureaucracy', represent the supremes adaptation to the requirements of rational action. The methods of bureaucaracy represent the most effective means to pursue ends in a rational way" ( Bauman and May 2001, p.48)

    James Wilson's book about Bureaucracies only covers government ones. Weber considered public and private ones.

    Wilson mostly studies United States Federal agencies: Including the Army, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Federal Communications Commission and the Social Security Administration. That is a powerful assembly.

    Wilson analyses reasons for inefficiencies in government Bureaucracies. Weber analyses reasons for efficiencies. Would you prefer to fight a modern or a traditional army?

    The Franco-Prussian war of 1870-1871.

    War is as much a matter of organisation as of guns.

    Bauman and May's analysis of Weber's characteristics of bureaucracy

  • everyone acts in an official capacity (role) given by rules attached to the role [See a functional division of labour]

  • to achieve this, a truly rational organisation splits tasks into simple and elementary activities

  • officials are guided by abstract rules [See Bureaucracy: Management by rules]

  • people are appointed and promoted by merit in relation to skills for the task [See Officials recruited on grounds of technical competence]

  • The history of the organisation is made up of its files, not people's memories [See Officials do not own their 'office']

  • To ensure rational coordination roles must be arranged in a hierachy [See A Formal hierarchical structure]


    "Manuel Castells writes, in the conclusion to the second of his three volume study on The Information Age, that we are witnessing the growth of networks, markets and organisations that are increasingly governed by 'rational expectation'. Yet if this is a summary of a dominant trend in contemporary western societies, in our survey of the bonds that unite, what is most striking is the diversity of human groupings." ( Bauman and May 2001, p. 55)

    Part Two:

    Living our lives:

    Challenges, choices and constraints

    Decisions and Actions: Power, Choice and Moral Duty

    This chapter argues that aspects of modern society involve a "silencing of moral considerations via every task being reduced to a simple choice of obeying or refusing to obey a command".

    Zygmunt Bauman's argument was stimulated by reading Janina Bauman's account of her life in the Warsaw Ghetto.

    Types of Action

    Bauman and May analyse human actions using a scheme that they derive from Max Weber.

    Unreflective (or 'Irrational') actions are taken without reflection. We do not pause and reflect before taking such an action: we simply get on with it. Such actions are unreflective, e.g. kissing our children, or a friend. They are taken on the basis the basis of habit or emotion.

    Unreflective: Traditional Action Action based upon custom and habit (e.g. queueing for a bus).

    Unreflective: Affectual Action Action based on feelings of emotion (e.g. kissing a friend)

    Rational actions are based upon our consciously reflecting on the choices available to achieve a particular objective. We pause and reflect before deciding which particular action to take, e.g. choosing between different modes of transport to find the quickest way to get from A to B.

    Instrumentally Rational Action (Means-Ends Rationality). Action based on choosing the most efficient means to achieve a given end (e.g. planning a journey).

    Value Rational Action Action taken in pursuit of an overriding objective.

    Types of power and authority

    According to Weber:

    Power is the ability to enforce a command or decision in the face of opposition (e.g. by use of physical force, or psychological pressure, as in the use of torture to extract a confession).

    Authority is a special kind of 'power' - the exercise of power which is consented to, and accepted as legitimate by those over whom it is exercised.

    Weber analyses three types of authority:

    Traditional authority is legitimised on the basis of respect for long established traditions (e.g. monarchical power).

    Charismatic authority is legitimised on the basis of perceived extraordinary powers/qualities of an individual (e.g. Gandhi, Mandela).

    Rational-Legal authority is legitimised on the basis of people's belief in legally defined position and rules of conduct (e.g. High Court judge).

    Morality and action

    "Moral motives clash with those of gain because moral action requires solidarity, disinterested help, willingness to assist the neighbour in need without asking for, or expecting, remuneration". (Bauman and May 2001 p. 71)
    "... people remain moral subjects as long as they are acknowledged as humans... This assumes that the partners to our interactions possess their own unique needs and that these needs are as valid and important as our own...

    Simone De Beauvoir Whenever certain persons or categories of people are denied the right to our moral responsibility, they are treated as 'lesser humans', 'flawed humans', 'not fully human', or downright non-human'. To guard against this, as the French philosopher and novelist Simone de Beauvoir put it, this necessitates not treating someone we meet as a member of a class, nation or some other collectivity, but as an individual who is an end in their own right" ( Bauman and May 2001, p. 75)

    " Max Weber noted that the separation of business from household is one of the most conspicuous characteristics of modern societies." [See Weber] "The overall effect is to isolate the spheres in which gain and moral duty are, respectively, the dominant considerations. When engaged in a business activity, we are prised from the network of family bonds. We are freed, in other words, from the pressures of moral duties." ( Bauman and May 2001, p. 72)

    "... the idea of an organisation is the attempt to adjust human action to the ideal requirements of rationality... such an attempt must involve... the silencing of moral considerations via every task being reduced to a simple choice of obeying or refusing to obey a command." ( Bauman and May 2001, p. 72)
    "... the murder of millions of Jews initiated and supervised by a few thousand top Nazi leaders and officials was a gigantic bureaucratic operation that involved the cooperation of millions of 'ordinary' people. They drove the trains which carried the victims to gas chambers and worked in the factories that produced the poisonous gases or crematoria appliances. The final results were so remote from the simple tasks which preoccupied them on a daily basis that the connections could escape their attention or be barred from consciousness." ( Bauman and May 2001, p. 72)

    See Holocaust

    Bureaucracy and bureaucratic operations

    Making it Happen: Gifts, Exchange and Intimacy in Relationships

    Gifts and exchange

    Bauman and May create two "models" or "pure forms" of human behaviour. Weber called such models "ideal types".

    Bauman and May and May call their models love (or gifts) and exchange They say:

    "Love and exchange are two extremes of a continuous line along which human relations may be plotted" (Bauman, Z. and May, T. 2001 p. 91).

    To understand what Bauman and May are saying, we will compare their ideas to those of Adam Smith and Marcel Mauss. These theorists use ideal types in the same way, but with different names and similar, but partly different, meanings:

    Bauman and May love exchange
    Adam Smith sympathy self-interest
    Marcel Mauss gift exchange commodity exchange

    Adam Smith 1723-1790


    In exchange, in its pure form, "self-interest rules supreme". (Bauman, Z. and May, T. 2001 p. 79).

    Adam Smith argued that "self-love" is better for the economy than "sympathy" (althought sympathy is better for families). The social theory called Political Economy (now economics) was created on this principle.

    In the case of gifts (according to Mauss):

    "... an obligation motivates the exchange of gifts in terms of the needs and the rights of others. These gifts have a symbolic value for the group to which the parties to the interaction belong and take place within belief systems in which reciprocity is praised" (Bauman, Z. and May, T. 2001 p. 79).

    Marcel Mauss (1872-1950).

    Marcel Mauss

    In support of their use of love and exchange as two poles of human behaviour, Bauman and May quote Marcel Mauss. Mauss was the nephew of Emile Durkheim. He worked with Durkheim, and developed his thought into the twentieth century. As we have seen, Bauman and May say that Mauss recognised that a gift is different from an exchange because:

    "... gifts have a symbolic value for the group to which the parties to the interaction belong and take place within belief systems in which reciprocity is praised." (Bauman, Z. and May, T. 2001 p. 79).

    Mauss, himself, expresses this differently. Instead of contrasting selfish exchanges with gifts, he argues that all exchanges have a symbolic significance and take place within social belief systems.

    Mauss carried out what we call "secondary research". That is, he analysed other people's research findings to make new theoretical findings. From this research he concluded that

    "it appears that there has never existed, either in the past or in modern primitive societies, anything like a 'natural' economy". (Mauss, M. 1923/1924 p.3)
    It had been suggested, Mauss said, that people living in south sea islands (Polynesia) visited by James Cook in the eighteenth century were living in a state of nature and that the way they bartered and exchanged could be taken as a natural human economy. Here is a passage from James Cook's journal for 20.4.1769:
    "a hog weighing about 90 pounds was brought along side the ship for sale, but those who brought it would not part with it for any thing we could offer them but a carpenter's broad axe and as this was what we could not part with they carried it away; thus we see those very people who but two years ago prefered a spike nail to an axe of any sort, have now so far learnt the use of them that they will not part with a pig of 10 or 12 pounds weight for any thing under a hatchet, and even those of an inferior or small sort are in no great esteem with them - and small nails such as 10d 20d or any under 40d are of no value at all; but beads particularly white cut glass beads are much valued by them"
    We can see what is meant by exchange being a negotiation of self-interest. However, Mauss says:
    "In our study here of these same Polynesians we shall see how far removed they are from a state of nature in these matters" (Mauss, M. 1923/1924 p.3)

    Personal and impersonal

    Family Wider society
    Love Exchange
    Personal Impersonal
    Talcott Parsons' Pattern variables
    Affectivity: relating to someone with feeling/emotion Affective neutrality
    Collective-orientation Self-orientation
    Particularism: relating to someone as specific or unique rather than as one of a general category/class of people. Universalism
    Ascription: relating to someone according to who they are (eg son, wife) rather than what they do (eg cleaner, banker) and how they perform in that role. Achievement
    Diffuse: relating to every aspect of someone Specific

    In pursuit of ourselves: love, intimacy, caring and commodities

    "As Georg Simmel observed... in the densely populated, variegated world we inhabit" [See City] "individuals tend to fall back upon themselves in the never ending search for sense and unity" ... articulated as the search for self-identity" (p.85)

    "None of the many impersonal exchanges in which we are involved will suffice to supply the identity we seek because it lies beyond any of these exchanges" (p.85) [IN CONTRAST:] "Being loved also means being understood... It concerns the validation of our self-portrayal." (p.85)

    The commodities of identity

    "Commercial advertisements take pains to show the commodities they try to sell as part of a particular lifestyle, so that the prospective customers can consciously purchase symbols of such self-identity as they would wish to possess" (Bauman, Z. and May, T. 2001 p. 88).)

    However, Jean Baudrillard (1929-2007) argues that

    "the pursuit of the authentic self in the market is nothing more than an illusion. Appearance is all we have ..." and "Appearances are are manufactured and taken on and off in the seduction that comes with continual consumption." (Bauman, Z. and May, T. 2001 p. 88).

    Bauman and May (not Baudrillard) advocate a retreat from such commercial identities to "more authentic experiences" of "reciprocity and recognition within loving relationships" (Bauman, Z. and May, T. 2001 p. 88)


    Care of Our Selves: The Body, Health and Sexuality.

    The body and desire

    "The body is the site of ourselves that is always on display and people tend to judge by what they can see. Even if the body is but a wrapping of what we take to be our 'inner lives', it is the attractiveness... of the wrapping that will entice others" (Bauman, Z. and May, T. 2000 p. 103).

    "... if something in our bodies, and especially in the appearance of our bodies, stops short of the ideal, the repairing of the situation seems to remain within our power to alter. In this way our bodies fluctuate between being objects of love and pride to sources of annoyance and shame" (Bauman, Z. and May, T. 2000 p. 105).

    Relate this back to commodities of identity and think about how the media represent bodies, and why.

    The body, sexuality and gender

    Are our bodies natural or constructed?

    Simone De Beauvoir In 1949, Simone De Beauvoir wrote

      "One is not born, but rather becomes a woman. No biological, psychological, or economic fate determines the figure that the human female presents in society; it is civilisation as a whole that produces this creature, intermediate between male and eunuch, which is described as feminine. Only the intervention of someone else can establish an individual as an Other." De Beauvoir, S. 1949 p.-)

    Bauman and May say:

    "'Being a male' or "being a female' is a question of art which needs to be learned, practised, and constantly perfected" (Bauman, Z. and May, T. 2001 p. 105)

    "Our sexuality, like other aspects of our bodies, is a task that is performed. It is a complex phenomena that includes not only sexual relations and practices, but also speech, dress and style. In other words, examining how sexuality is maintained and not simply given." (Bauman, Z. and May, T. 2001 pp 105-106)
    "" Gender is a cultural classifies, divides and separates via a stipulation of social activities that are considered proper or improper for each category" (Bauman, Z. and May, T. 2001 p. 106)

    Time, Space and (Dis) Order

    The focus of this chapter is on the historical dimension of sociology. The following chapter develops the spatial dimension of sociology further.

    Experiencing time and space

    Time and space are about history and geography. Bauman and May are particularly interested in how we experience them, and how human experience of them has changed.

    In 1955, when Andrew Roberts was eleven years old, his aunt went to work in Angola. She sailed by boat from Southampton. The journey took more than two weeks. Andrew wrote her a letter to ask is she has seen a lion yet. A few weeks later he received a letter back to say she had, in the distance from the bush hospital where she worked.

    In 2010, Andrew was sitting in a London cafe with an Angolan student when her brother, in Angola, had problems with his homework. They exchange questions and answers over her mobile phone. Her brother might almost have been in the London cafe with us.


    See Speed annihilates distance 1839

    stages in history

    The main terms that Bauman and May use to describe stages in history are pre-modern or traditonal and modern. They divide modern times into hardware and software times. Elsewhere, Bauman relates hardware to what he calls solid modernity and software to what he calls liquid modernity.

    The technical developments behind these stages are related (by Bauman and May) first to transportation and then to communication

    drum- telegraph

    "For while, the most impressive technical developments served the needs of transportation. Thus steam, electric and internal combustion engines, rail networks, seafaring vessals and motor cars were invented".

    "Yet alongside these inventions a new 'software' era was germinating in the discovery of things such as telegraph and the radio." (p.110)

    Risk society

    Ulrich Beck
    Ulrich Beck
    Anthony Giddens
    Anthony Giddens

    " Globalisation is taken to be a process which no one controls" (Bauman, Z. and May, T. 2001 p. 114)

    In the software era:

    "people may seldom, if ever, meet and so be unaware of each other's existence in terms of belonging to a spatially defined network of people within a common place." (Bauman, Z. and May, T. 2001 p. 112)

    Bauman and May call this "isolation" and say of people who do things in a software society:

    " because they are in isolation the actions are dispersed and uncoordinated. Given this, the outcomes and side-effects are difficult to calculate and define and so have the potential to take us by surprise" (Bauman, Z. and May, T. 2001 p. 113)

    Because of these issues "Ulrich Beck proposed that we now live in a 'society of risks'" (Bauman, Z. and May, T. 2001 p. 113)

    See Martin Shaw (Sussex University) "The development of 'common risk' society: a theoretical overview" Paper delivered at seminar on 'Common risk society', Garmisch- Partenkirchen, 1995.

    From patronage to the cash-nexus

    See pre- modern
    See Marx and Engels and patronage to cash-nexus

    Bauman and May are making a connection between the cash-nexus (market economy), globalisation and risk, saying that because of money and globalisation we do not easily see the consequences of what we do or the causes of things that happen to us. We may not know, for example, that cheap shoes we buy are made by child labour somewhere on the other side of the world. Bauman and May argue that sociology may give us the knowledge of social networks that enables us to make laws (etc) that control such issues.

    Autonomy, Order, Chaos

    "order is enabled through boundaries" (p.116)

    Drawing Boundaries: Culture, Nature, State and Territory

    Nature and Culture

    "Culture, as the labour that makes up artificial order, requires distinctions: that is, setting things and people apart through acts of segregation and discrimination. In a desert, untouched by human activity and indifferent to human purpose, there are neither signposts nor fences making one stretch of land different from another. In other words, it is formless. In an environment subjected to the work of culture, on the other hand, a uniform, flat surface is divided into areas which draw some people but repel others, or into strips fit for only vehicles and those that are suitable only for walkers. The world thus acquires a structure that orients activities. People are divided into superiors and inferiors, agents of authority and lay persons, and those who speak and those who listen and are expected to take notice of what is said. Similarly, time occurs in a uniform flow via a division into designated activities, for example, breakfast-time, coffee- break, lunchtime, afternoon tea and dinner. Spatially there is demarcation according to the 'physical' composition and place of particular gatherings - being in a seminar, a conference, a beer festival, a dinner party or a business meeting." (Bauman, Z. and May, T. 2001 p. 128)

    "Language and power, as Michel Foucault, Pierre Bourdieu and critical linguists have all pointed out, ... go together in such a way as to limit what may be spoken" (Bauman, Z. and May, T. 2001 p. 132)

    State, Nations and Nationalism

    Citizenship and the State

    "To paraphrase Max Weber," [see Weber] "the state has a monopoly over the legitimate means of violence" (Bauman, Z. and May, T. 2001 p. 135)

    Nations and Nationalism


    The Business in Everyday Life: Consumption, Technology and Lifestyles.

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    Richardson, M. and Roberts, A. 2011b - Thinking sociologically the Bauman and May way. London: Middlesex University. Available at

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  • Index

    Bauman, Janina
    Bauman, Zygmunt
    Chicago University
    commodities of identity
    common sense
    constructed bodies
    De Beauvoir on morality
    De Beauvoir on identity
    Durkheim's strategy
    history and sociology
    liquid modernity
    Mead and Dewey
    Mead and evolution
    Mead and Rousseau
    Mead's strategy
    moral duty
    moral responsibility
    natural bodies
    performance of sex
    David Riesman
    Rousseau and evolution
    self as object
    Adam Smith
    social facts
    solid modernity
    stages in history
    stages of self
    stages in socialisation
    stages of society
    symbolic interaction
    understanding (verstehen)
    understandings (group)
    Weber on organisation and rationalisation
    Weber on power and authority
    Weber's strategy
    Weber on types of action
    Weber's way with sociology