The war against forgetfulness: sociological lessons from Bauman’s writings on European Jewry

Dawson, M. (2020) The war against forgetfulness: sociological lessons from Bauman’s writings on European Jewry. Thesis Eleven, 156(1), pp. 86-101. (doi: 10.1177/0725513619898288)

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Abstract

This paper argues against assigning Zygmunt Bauman to the category of a ‘white’, ‘European’ theorist and the tendency to speak of an undifferentiated ‘Eurocentrism’. To argue this, I return to a set of articles by Bauman which reflected on the history of European Jewry. These encourage us to place Bauman in a historical and social context in which he is best identified as emerging from the racialized and classed politics of East European Jewry. Bauman traces how this group were made the outsiders of the assimilatory project of West European Jewry then, as Jewish socialists, were victims of the political anti-Semitism of communist regimes. Not only does this encourages us to be critical of the claims that he spoke from an elite ‘white European’ position, it also has further lessons for sociology which, in its own ‘war against forgetfulness’, has tended to impose simplistic racialized and political categories onto theorists.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Dawson, Dr Matt
Authors: Dawson, M.
Subjects:D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D839 Post-war History, 1945 on
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Sociology Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences
Journal Name:Thesis Eleven
Publisher:SAGE Publications
ISSN:0725-5136
ISSN (Online):1461-7455
Published Online:09 January 2020
Copyright Holders:Copyright © The Author 2020
First Published:First published in Thesis Eleven 156(1):86-101
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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