Social Sciences


Professor Keith Tester

BSc(Hons), PhD, FRSA


Keith Tester

Professor of Sociology

Department of Social Sciences

Room 264, Wilberforce Building

University of Hull

Cottingham Road



Tel: +44 (0)1482 346311



I have been Professor of Sociology at Hull since 2008, having previously been Professor of Cultural Sociology at the University of Portsmouth. In 2010-2012 I was also Professor of Sociology at Kyung Hee University, Seoul, Korea. I am a Visiting Professor in the School of Sociology & Social Policy at the University of Leeds, an Honorary Member of the Thesis Eleven Centre for Cultural Sociology at LaTrobe University, Melbourne, Australia (where I have been a Distinguished Visiting Fellow), and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. I have been a Visiting Fellow at the University of Girona and a Research Associate of the Institute for the Study of Social Change at University College Dublin. I studied for my Ph.D at the University of Leeds, and the ‘book of the thesis' - Animals and Society - was awarded the British Sociological Association Philip Abrams Memorial Prize for Best First Sole-Authored Book in 1992. In 2012 I was made a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences.


My main research interest is in thinking sociologically about the entwinement of culture and morality. This interest has resulted in work in the sociology of the media, an area in which I am widely published. Thanks to contemporary media we know about suffering in other parts of the world, but what do we do about it? What does this knowledge mean to us? Do the culture industries predetermine what we might know and do? I raise these kinds of questions through the heritage of critical theory and, especially, the social thought of Zygmunt Bauman. My interest in culture has also resulted in publications on film and art.

Postgraduate Research Supervision

I am happy to supervise postgraduate work in the sociology of the media, cultural studies and social theory. I have successfully supervised doctoral students working on the media and anti-paedophile riots, cultural representations of the Holocaust, reality television, the media and the Northern Ireland Peace Process, the media and protests against the live transportation of animals.

Selected Publications

Authored Books


What Use is Sociology? with Zygmunt Bauman and Michael Hviid Jacobsen, Cambridge: Polity, 2013.

Panic, London: Routledge, 2013.

Humanitarianism and Modern Culture, University Park: Penn State University Press, 2010.

Eric Rohmer: Film as Theology, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008.

Bauman Beyond Postmodernity: Conversations, Critiques and Annotated Bibliography 1989-2005, with M. Hviid Jacobsen and S. Marshman, Aalborg: Aalborg University Press, 2007.

Bauman Before Postmodernity: Invitation, Conversations and Annotated Bibliography 1953-1989, with M. Hviid Jacobsen, Aalborg: Aalborg University Press, 2005.

The Social Thought of Zygmunt Bauman, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004.

Conversations with Zygmunt Bauman, Cambridge: Polity, 2001.

Compassion, Morality and the Media, Buckingham: Open University Press, 2001.

Moral Culture, London: Sage, 1997.

The Inhuman Condition, London: Routledge, 1995.

Media, Culture and Morality, London: Routledge, 1994.

The Life and Times of Post-Modernity, London: Routledge, 1993.

Civil Society, London: Routledge, 1992.

The Two Sovereigns. Social Contradictions of European Modernity, London: Routledge, 1992.

Animals and Society. The Humanity of Animal Rights, London: Routledge, 1991.


Edited Books

Utopia: Social Theory and the Future, with M. Hviid Jacobsen, Farnham: Ashgate, 2012.

Bauman’s Challenge: Sociological Issues for the Twenty-First Century, with M. Davis, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.

The Flâneur, London: Routledge, 1994.



Bauman sobre Bauman: Diálogos con Keith Tester, Rio de Janeiro: Zahar, 2011.

Immor(t)alitas Media, Yogyakarta: Penerbit Juxtapose, 2010.

Chinese translation of The Life and Times of Post-Modernity, Beijing: Peking University Press, 2010.

Il Pensiero di Zygmunt Bauman, Gardolo-Trento: Edizione Erickson, 2005.

Chinese translation of Conversations with Zygmunt Bauman, Beijing: Sage Books, 2004.

O Pożytkach z Wątpliwości: Rozmowy z Zygmuntem Baumanem, Warsaw: Wydawnictwo Sic! 2003.

Samtaler med Bauman, Oslo: Vidarforlaget AS, 2003.

Media Massa yang Humanis, Yogyakarta: Kreasi Wacana, 2003.

La Ambivalencia de la Modernidad y Otras Conversaciones, with Zygmunt Bauman, Barcelona: Ediciones Paidos, 2002.

Società, etica, politica. Conversazioni con Zygmunt Bauman, Milan: Raffaello Cortina Editore, 2002.

Sociologi och moral, Lund: Studentlitteratur, 2000.

Contract signed in 1998 for Turkish edition of Moral Culture.


Peer-Reviewed Academic Articles

‘Bauman and Bergman: A Short Note’, Polish Sociological Review, 2(186)’14, 2014: 225-231.

‘Refleksja zarówno socjologiczna, jak i teologiczna: rozmowa z Kieranem Flanaganem’, Stanrzecy, 2(5), 2013: 151- 172.

'August in England', Thesis Eleven, 109(1), 2012

'Introduction to a Special Section: Remembering Janina Bauman', Thesis Eleven, 107(1), 2011: 64-67.

'Poet-Intellectual and Public Sociologist', with Michael Hviid Jacobsen, Akademisk kvarter: Tidsskrift for humanistisk forskning, 2(3), 2011: 303-318.

'Telling Stories About Jesus: A Conversation with John Carroll', Cultural Sociology, 4(3), 2010: 379-394.

'Multiculturalism, Catholicism and Us', New Blackfriars, vol. 91, no. 1036, November 2010: 665-676. The paper is part of a symposium on Charles Taylor's A Secular Age and has a long reply from Taylor.

'Humanitarianism: The Group Charisma of Post-Colonial Britain', International Journal of Cultural Studies, 13(4), 2010: 375-389.

‘The Enchantment of Stanley Spencer’, New Blackfriars, vol. 91, no. 1034, July 2010: 370-385.

'Pleasure, Reality, the Novel and Pathology’, Journal of Anthropological Psychology, no. 21, 2009: 23-26.

'Фланер: Предисеповие’, ТеориямоаЫ, no. 6, 2007-2008: 190-213.

‘Sociology, Nostalgia, Utopia and Mortality: A Conversation with Zygmunt Bauman’, with M. Hviid Jacobsen, European Journal of Social Theory, 10(2), 2007: 305-325.

'Intellectual Immigration and the English Idiom (Or, A Tale of Bustards and Eagles)’, Polish Sociological Review, 3(155), 2006: 275-292.

'Editors’ Introduction: Being a Sociologist’, with M. Hviid Jacobsen, Polish Sociological Review, 3(155), 2006: 263-267.

'Editor’s Introduction’, Irish Journal of Sociology, 15(1), 2006: 3-6.

'Reflections on the Abu Ghraib Photographs’, Journal of Human Rights, 4(1), 2005: 137-144.

'11 September 2001: Sociological Reflections’, Irish Journal of Sociology, 13(2), 2004: 104-114.

'Paths in Zygmunt Bauman’s Social Thought’, Thesis Eleven, no. 70, 2002: 55-71.

'A Theory of Indifference’, Journal of Human Rights, 1(2), 2002: 173-186.

'Between Sociology and Theology: The Spirit of Capitalism Debate’, The Sociological Review, 48(1), 2000: 43-57.

'Weber’s Alleged Emotivism’, British Journal of Sociology, 50(4), 1999: 563-574.

'Moral Consequentiality of Television’, European Journal of Social Theory, 2(4), 1999: 469-483.

'Emotivism and Bosnia. On Giddensian Sociology’, Sociological Imagination, 36(2-3), 1999: 154-166.

'Ethical Conduct in the Present Age: The Case of Søren Kierkegaard’, The Sociological Review, 46(1), 1998: 95-114.

'Aura, Armour and the Body’, Body and Society, 4(1), 1998: 17-34.

'Culture, Ethics and the Ends of Sociology’, New Blackfriars, 78(3), 1997: 129-134.

'Making Moral Citizens: On Himmelfarb’s De-moralization Thesis’, Citizenship Studies, 1(1), 1997: 57-71.

'The Ideology and Current Activities of the Animal Liberation Front’, with J. Walls, Contemporary Politics, 2(2), 1996: 79-90.

'Moral Solidarity and the Technological Reproduction of Images’, Media, Culture & Society, 17(3), 1995: 469-482.

'The Uses of Error. The Collapse of Really Existing Socialism’, Telos, no. 83, Spring 1990: 151-162.

'The British Experience of the Militant Opposition to the Agricultural Use of Animals’, Journal of Agricultural Ethics, 2(3), 1990: 241-251.

'The Pleasure of the Rich is the Labour of the Poor: Some Comments on Norbert Elias’ “An Essay on Sport and Violence”’, Journal of Historical Sociology, 2(2), 1989.


Contributions to edited books

'Imagination and Grace: Rohmer's Tales of the Four Seasons', in L. Anderst (ed.), The Films of Eric Rohmer: French New Wave to Old Master, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014.

‘Zygmunt Bauman and Social Theory’ in A. Elliott (ed.), Routledge Handbook of Social and Cultural Theory, London: Routledge, 2014.

‘Bacon, Kundera, Bauman’, in M.H. Jacobsen, M. Drake, K. Keohane and A. Petersen (eds), Experimental Methodologies: The Poetic Imagination in Social Science, Farnham: Ashgate, 2013.

'On Medialisation' in A. Wardega (ed.), Doubt, Time and Violence in Philosophical and Cultural Thought: Sino-Western Interpretations and Analysis, Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2012

'Hidden Conflict, Visible World', in A. Karatzogianni (ed.), Violence and War in Culture and the Media, London: Routledge, 2012.

‘Poussin, a Poem and a Sacred Story’, in M. O’Kane (ed.), Bible, Art, Gallery, Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2011.

'A Theory of Indifference’, in G. Ognjenovic (ed.), Responsibility in Context: Perspectives, Dordrecht: Springer, 2009.

'Terminal Paradox of Globalisation’, in E. Bielsa and C. Hughes (eds), Globalisation, Political Violence and Translation, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009.

'Ondskabens senmoderne svøbe’, with Michael Hviid Jacobsen, in H.D. Sørensen and S. Normann Thordsen (eds), Ondskab: Et politisk begreb, Aarhus: Aarhus Universitetsforlag, 2008.

'Media as Environment: The Appearance of Sociology in the Media Environment’, in M.H. Jacobsen (ed.), Public Sociology: Proceedings of the Anniversary Conference Celebrating Ten Years of Sociology at Aalborg, Aalborg: Aalborg University Press, 2008.

'The Postmodernism Debate’, with Zygmunt Bauman, in P. Goulimari (ed.), Postmodernism: What Moment? Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2007.

'Bauman’s Irony’ in A. Elliott (ed.) The Contemporary Bauman: A Critical Reader, London: Routledge, 2007.

'Baumans engagerede ironi’, in M. Hviid Jacobsen and P. Poder (eds), Om Bauman – Kritiske essays, Copenhagen: Hans Reitzels, 2006.

Entries on ‘Zygmunt Bauman’, ‘Morality’ and ‘Values and Norms’ in A. Harrington, B.L. Marshall and H-P Mueller, Encyclopaedia of Social Theory, London: Routledge, 2005.

'September 11, 2001: Sociological Reflections’, in C. Paterson and A. Sreberny (eds), International News in the Twenty-First Century, Luton: University of Luton Press, 2004.

'The Pleasure of the Rich is the Labour of the Poor: Some Comments on Norbert Elias’ “An Essay on Sport and Violence”’, in E. Dunning and S. Mennell (eds) Norbert Elias: Critical Assessments, volume 3, London: Sage, 2003.

'Context and Sociological Horizons’, with Zygmunt Bauman, in P. Beilharz (ed.) Zygmunt Bauman: Critical Assessments, volume 1, London: Sage, 2002.

'Making Moral Citizens’, in P. Beilharz (ed.) Zygmunt Bauman: Critical Assessments, volume 3, London: Sage, 2002.

'Disenchantment and Virtue: An Essay on Max Weber’, in K. Flanagan & P. Jupp (eds.), Virtue Ethics and Sociology: Issues of Modernity and Religion, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2001.

'National Identity’ in M. Haralambos (ed.), Directions in Sociology, vol. 15, Ormskirk: Causeway Press, 1999.

'The Moral Malaise of McDonaldization: The Values of Vegetarianism’ in B. Smart (ed.), Resisting McDonaldization, London: Sage, 1999.

'Bored and Blasé: Television, the Emotions and Georg Simmel’ in G. Bendelow & S. Williams (eds.), Emotions in Social Life. Critical Themes and Contemporary Issues, London: Routledge, 1998.

'Identity’, with I. Burkitt, in M. Haralambos (ed.) Directions in Sociology, vol. 12, Ormskirk: Causeway Press, 1996.

'Postmodernism’ in M. Haralambos (ed.), Directions in Sociology, vol. 11, Ormskirk: Causeway Press, 1995.

'Risk Society’ in A. & J. Kuper (eds.) Social Science Encyclopedia II, London: Routledge, 1995.

'Animal Rights’ in C. Bazerman (ed.) The Informed Writer, 5th Edition, Chicago: Houghton Mifflin, 1994.


Shorter Articles

‘To Rome via Rohmer’, Saint Austin Review, 7(4), July/August 2007: 33-34.

'Behind the Stuffed Goat’s Penis Lurks Ambition’, The Times Higher Education Supplement, 19 August, 2005: 13.

'Morality Prevails Despite Cultural Deterrents’, Science & Theology News, November 2004: 5.

 'The Human Zoo’, Marxism Today, May 1991: 36.


Other Publications

Fragments of a Human World. Wild Sociology, Dark Times and the Postmodern World – A Sketchy Introduction to the Sociological Spirit of Keith Tester, Sociologisk Arbejdspapir no. 20, Aalborg Universitet, 2004.

Social Theory and Morality, University of Portsmouth: Portsmouth Lecture Series, 1999.


Book reviews

In: Acta Sociologica; British Journal of Sociology; Canadian Journal of Sociology; Current Sociology; Figurations; International Journal of Media and Cultural Politics; Media, Culture & Society; New Blackfriars; Sexualities; Social Science Quarterly; The Sociological Review; Sociology; Thesis Eleven; Times Higher Education Supplement.






I am a member of the Executive Committee of the Bauman Institute at the University of Leeds and of the Histories of Violence web-project which is also based at Leeds ( I am also on the editorial boards of three academic journals: Journal of Classical Sociology, Journal of Human Rights and Thesis Eleven.


My work has been cited in Australian, British, Italian and Korean media coverage of a range of issues, in particular animal rights, the ethics of media representations and the implications of globalization for the future of social work.


When I worked at the University of Portsmouth I was a member of the Portsmouth Health Care Trust’s Clinical Ethics Committee.


Current Masters Teaching

Postgraduate Workshop

Central Issues in Applied Social Research


Current Undergraduate Teaching

Level III:                  Dissertation supervision

Level II:                   Religion, Culture & Society

Level II:                   Theorising Society

Level I:                    Key Skills and Collecting Social Data


Examinations Officer for the School of Social Sciences
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