Sketches in the Theory of Culture
Sketches in the Theory of Culture
Translated by Katarzyna Bartoszynska

<i>Sketches in the Theory of Culture</i> is a remarkable work by all measures. Written by Zygmunt Bauman when he was still a professor in Poland and originally intended for publication in 1968, it was suppressed by the Polish government in the wave of repression following the protests in March of that year. For decades it was thought to be lost. Astonishingly, it survived in the form of an uncorrected set of proofs which were recently discovered and which are the basis of this edition.

Now published in English for the first time, this book sheds new light on Bauman’s work prior to his emigration and illuminates the intellectual climate of Poland in the late 1960s. Bauman’s pursuit of a semiotic theory of culture includes a discussion of processes of individualization and the intensification of global ties, anticipating themes that became central to his later work. Though this book stands as a testament to an historical moment, it also transcends it. “We live in an age that seems, for the first time in human history, to acknowledge cultural multiplicity as an innate and fixed feature of the world, one which gives rise to new forms of identity that are at ease with plurality, like a fish in water,” writes Bauman— a statement that is as true today as it was when Bauman penned it in the 1960s.

<i>Sketches in the Theory of Culture</i> is a strikingly prescient reflection on culture and society by one of the most influential social thinkers of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. It will appeal to students and scholars across the social sciences and humanities and to the many readers of Bauman’s work.

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  • September 2018
  • 304 pages
  • 152 x 229 mm / 6 x 9 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $69.95
  • 9781509528295
  • Paperback $24.95
  • 9781509528301
  • Open eBook $16.99
  • 9781509528332
Table of Contents

A Message in a Bottle. On the Recovered Work of Zygmunt Bauman - Dariusz Brzezinski

From the Author

Part I. Sign and Culture

1. The origins of the semiotic theory of culture, or the crisis of cultural anthropology

2. Towards a semiotic theory of culture

3. Man and sign

4. The problem of universals and the semiotic theory of culture

5. Some research problems in the semiotic theory of culture

Part II. Culture and Social Structure

1. Cultural and extra-cultural organization of society

2. Economics, culture, and typologies of societies

3. Cultural determinants of the research process

4. Three observations about problems of contemporary education

5. Masses, classes, elites: semiotics and the re-imagination of the sociological function of culture

Afterword - Zygmunt Bauman, 2016



About the Author

Zygmunt Bauman (1925-2017) was Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of Leeds.

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