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This timely book provides the definitive concise introduction to the phenomenon of Zygmunt Bauman. After introducing the man, his major influences and his special way of 'thinking sociologically', author Blackshaw traces the development of Bauman's project by identifying and explaining the major shifts of emphasis in his work – the break with Marxism and the postmodern 'turn', and the subsequent refocusing on 'liquid' modernity – as well as offering a clear and accessible guide to the key conceptual hinges which move the reader on. This book, the only concise introduction to Bauman's work on the market, goes on to explain the importance of the full range of persistent themes concerning Bauman, dealing specifically with individualization, freedom, identity, community, social control, consumption and waste, building a penetrating understanding of why these issues matter for this Key Sociologist. Bauman's ideas have impacted beyond sociology into criminology, political theory, cultural studies, leisure studies and so forth, and have also now penetrated outside the walls of the academy into social policy, welfare reform, social work and politics. Making use of pedagogical features such as boxed sections, chapter summaries, an annotated bibliography and links to further reading, this well-written text assumes no prior familiarity with Bauman's work and will appeal to anyone in any of these fields wishing to get acquainted with the ideas of one of the world's most wide-ranging thinkers.