| by Neil Gross

Dana Professor of Sociology Neil Gross reflects on the recent death of Polish sociologist Zygmunt Bauman and his unusual work style in an op-ed in the Feb. 9 New York Times. Bauman’s theories about modernity were not based on data collection or methodology. Instead, he was “a thinker of rare insight and range,” Gross writes. American social scientists, however, “prefer the concrete to the abstract, the causal claim you can rigorously test to the flowery theoretical description you can’t,” Gross continues. But “his writing—eagerly consumed by European audiences, especially—helped readers think about the times, and their own lives, in entirely new ways,” Gross concludes.