This site is addressed to sociologists, students and researchers, life-science researchers, musicians and all people passionate by ethnography, interested in occupational sociology, sociology of professions and especially for all of you who would like to know more about the work of scientists (especially in life-science laboratories) and musicians (especially virtuoso), and academia world functioning.
My latest book:
Global thinker, public intellectual and world-famous theorist of ‘liquid modernity’, Zygmunt Bauman (1925-2017) was a scholar who, despite forced migration, built a very successful academic career and, after retirement, became a prolific and popular writer and an intellectual talisman for young people everywhere. He was one of those rare scholars who, grey-haired and in his eighties, had his finger on the pulse of the youth.
This is the first comprehensive biography of Bauman’s life and work. Izabela Wagner returns to Bauman’s native Poland and recounts his childhood in an assimilated Polish Jewish family and the school experiences shaped by anti-Semitism. Bauman’s life trajectory is typical of his generation and social group: the escape from Nazi occupation and Soviet secondary education, communist engagement, enrolment in the Polish Army as a political officer, participation in the WW II and the support for the new political regime in the post-war Poland. Wagner sheds new light on the post-war period and Bauman’s activity as a KBW political officer. His eviction in 1953 from the military ranks and his academic career reflect the dynamic context of Poland in 1950s and 1960s. His professional career in Poland was abruptly halted in 1968 by the anti-Semitic purges. Bauman became a refugee again - leaving Poland for Israel, and then settling down in Leeds in the UK in 1971. His work would flourish in Leeds, and after his retirement in 1991 he entered a period of enormous productivity which propelled him onto the international stage as one of the most widely read and influential social thinkers of our time.
Wagner’s biography brings out the complex connections between Bauman’s life experiences and his work, showing how his trajectory as an ‘outsider’ forced into exile by the anti-Semitic purges in Poland has shaped his thinking over time. Her careful and thorough account will be the standard biography of Bauman’s life and work for years to come.
Review of my book about virtuoses
There’s no surefire way to become an elite violin soloist, but there’s one thing in particular you can do to help your odds: Be born to musician parents. Even then, you’re probably screwed. For Izabela Wagner’s study Producing Excellence: The Making of Virtuosos she interviewed nearly 100 prodigies, and what she found is best put by one former soloist, “For every ten students, one will attempt suicide, one will become mentally ill, two will become alcoholics, two will slam doors and jettison the violin out the window, three will work as violinists, and perhaps one will become a soloist.” For aspiring violinists and their parents—including Wagner herself—those are not good chances. Why would anyone choose that kind of life?...