8/28/07 Foundations of social science (lecture outline) Why social science? C. Wright Mills: discovering the individual’s connection to society Philosophy and social science Marx: “social being determs social consciousness” (a b) Purpose and rationale for social science Knowledge of society is source of great power (marketing, politics, Microsoft) Social knowledge is a critical element of personal success Social knowledge is a critical element of social reform (middle class versus the poor) Warning: social knowledge is often self-interested knowledge, and therefore partial or biased C. Wright Mills’ “Sociological imagination” The intersection of biography (individual lives) and society (social categories) When personal troubles become social issues, e.g., unemployment, war and poverty, imagination “kicks in” Last generation of Americans with sociological imagination was born during depression and fought in WWII
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