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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Social Science: the Qualitative Approach of Zygmunt Bauman

Zygmunt Bauman
(image source: Alchetron)
no copyright infringement intended

I read in NY Times an article that I found very informative. It discusses the approach Zygmunt Bauman took in his Sociological research: How To Do Social Science Without Data. Here are a few quotes:

Much of his writing was scattershot, aphoristic and repetitive. He knew nothing of disciplinary boundaries, veering into philosophy, literature, anthropology; it could be fruitful or dilettantish. Empirical evidence was equally unknown to him. Imagination and acumen counted for everything.

Well, that was his approach: extremely qualitative. And in doing so he made us think about the times, and our own lives, in entirely new ways. His contributions are essential, in explaining the real nature of Holocaust, in explaining the fall of Soviet Communism, then in finding with his Liquid Modernity the exact definition of contemporary times (consumerism seemed to pervade everything; life had become freer, more fluid and a lot more risky; in principle, contemporary workers could change jobs whenever they got bored; they could relocate abroad or reinvent themselves through shopping; they could find new sexual partners with the push of a button. But could a transient work force come together to fight for a more equitable distribution of resources? Could shopping-obsessed consumers return to the task of being responsible, engaged citizens? Could intimate partners motivated by short-term desire ever learn the value of commitment?).

(Zygmunt Bauman)



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