What use is sociology?

What use is sociology?

  • Conversations with Michael Hviid Jacobsen and Keith Tester
  • Zygmunt Bauman
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TIM press published the book What use is sociology? Conversations with Michael Hviid Jacobsen and Keith Tester. The book consists of four interviews conducted with Zygmunt Bauman which are enriched with responses to additional questions, additional notes and excerpts from texts that Bauman published in less accessible markets.

"In our ever more individual, fluid modern society, in which the solution to the social problems is inexorably shifting from the holders of power on the shoulders of individuals, sociology still has a chance (though, admittedly, not much more than that!) to transform itself to society and the technology of freedom: that is, to provide the ways and means by which individuals of regulation, or individuals de jure, in the fluid modern times, can rise beyond the status of individuals of choice, or individuals de facto. This is, I persistently repeat, an opportunity - although I think that is also, or even primarily, our moral obligation: the task whose execution sociology owes the people of our time. But to honorably carry out this moral obligation, sociology today must engage in an open dialogue with the everyday experience of these people. The practice of sociology is obviously not a recipe for achieving great wealth, or for a carefree life. The most that can be achieved with it (but by no means should we underestimate or diminish its importance!) is meaningful life - the pleasure provided by a job well done that aims to leave the world, this common habitat of people, the circumstances that are somewhat better (but not worse) than those that existed when we first started working with her."


What's the use of sociology? The question has been asked often enough and it leaves a lingering doubt in the minds of many. At a time when there is widespread scepticism about the value of sociology and of the social sciences generally, this short book by one of the world's leading thinkers offers a passionate, engaging and important statement of the need for sociology.

In a series of conversations with Michael Hviid Jacobsen and Keith Tester, Zygmunt Bauman explains why sociology is necessary if we hope to live fully human lives. But the kind of sociology he advocates is one which sees 'use' as more than economic success and knowledge as more than the generation of facts. Bauman makes a powerful case for the practice of sociology as an ongoing dialogue with human experience, and in so doing he issues a call for us all to start questioning the common sense of our everyday lives. He also offers the clearest statement yet of the principles which inform his own work, reflecting on his life and career and on the role of sociology in our contemporary liquid-modern world.

This book stands as a testimony to Bauman's belief in the enduring relevance of sociology. But it is also a call to us all to start questioning the world in which we live and to transform ourselves from being the victims of circumstance into the makers of our own history. For that, at the end of the day, is the use of sociology.

Zygmunt Bauman (born 19 November 1925) is a Polish sociologist. He has resided in England since 1971 after being driven out of Poland by an anti-semitic campaign engineered by the communist government of the Polish People's Republic. Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of Leeds, Bauman is one of the world's most eminent social theorists writing on issues as diverse as modernity and the Holocaust, postmodern consumerism and liquid modernity.

  • ISBN: 978-953-7177-99-7
  • Year of the edition: 2015
  • Number of pages: 152
  • Cover: paperback
  • Original title: What use is sociology?
  • Original language: English
  • Translation: Tijana Trako Poljak
  • Dimensions: 125x200 mm

The dialogical nature of the book What use is sociology? makes it widely accessible as much as intellectually relevant. This work, therefore, will not be relevant only for the circles of sociologists, philosophers and other related fields, but it will be interesting for a wide range of readers aswell. Bauman's writing style is sophisticated, professional and scientific, but at the same time it is accessible to the general public, thus achieving popularization of extremely important ideas of this author whose work critically reviews all the most important aspects of modern civilization.

Prof. Ognjen Čaldarović, Ph. D.