The%20Sociological%20Imagination4

The%20Sociological%20Imagination4 - The Sociological...

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The Sociological Imagination C. Wright Mills (1916-1962) Here’s a link to an essay about him by a colleague. It gives insight into his life and writings: http://www.uni-muenster.de/PeaCon/dgs-mills/mills-texte/GitlinMills.htm C. Wright Mills was a Sociologist whose short career at Columbia University (from 1946 until his death in 1962) applied Max Weber’s discussion of rationalization to the study of labor, power, and politics in the US. He asserted that the individual cannot be understood outside of social forms and structures. He was an important forerunner and catalyst for the intellectual and political movements of the 1960’s. He had four major works: The New Men of Power: American Labor Leader (1948) studies the dynamics of labor leaders cooperating with business leaders and eventually being appeased by the promise of security. White Collar: The American Middle Classes (1951) warns that the processes of rationalization rob the American worker of free will and creates cheerful robots. The Power Elite (1956) details and analyzes the connection between political, military, and economic elite- we’ll read the selection of this work in SEEING OURSELVES later in the session.
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The Sociological Imagination (1959), which is the focus of this page. In this work, Mills describes the mind-set necessary for conducting sociological analysis, and stresses the ability to connect individual experiences to larger social relationships, forms, and institutions. In The Sociological Imagination , Mills contends that there are three things that determine the individual in society: the historical trajectory of the society, the biography of individuals in that society (what sort of people are produced in that group) and of the particular individual, and the way social structures in that society operate.
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