jan 5th theory note 2S06 - The theoretical Ideas of Mills Reaction to Structural Functionalism The sociological imagination(1959 An assumption that

jan 5th theory note 2S06 - The theoretical Ideas of Mills...

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The theoretical Ideas of Mills Reaction to Structural Functionalism The sociological imagination (1959) An assumption that Mills attacked the grand theory of Talcott Parsons Mills criticised Parsons idea of structural functionalism as abstract, all encompassing and conservative 2) Adoption of Marxian: Marxian influenced but not a Neo Marxian We see Marx’s influence in his work The Theoretical Ideas OF MILLS The power elite (1986) • Title of one of Mills’ books • The power elite rules over the mass society in US in the 1950s • Mills saw the power elite as an interlocking set of people who control dominate institutions in American society 1) Key Aspects of the Power Elite: i. Institutions of the Power Elite: • Mills argued that the power elite is made up of people who control the economic order, the military order, and the political order of the US • Mills argues that those who control the economic order and the military order are in the strongest position • Those who control the political order are in the weakest position • Mills wrote that “the power elite has been shaped by the coincidence of interest between those who control the major means of production and those who control the newly enlarged means of violence” • Mills refers to the existence of “a permanent war economy” = linkage between economic and the military orders of society • The 1950s were the period of the cold war = the US and the Soviet union were stuck in an ideological conflict/US built up military for perceived attacks from the Soviet Union=what Mills means by permanent war economy • To this day, it can be argued that there is a “military-industrial complex” in the US

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