Sociology of Deviant Behavior

Sociology of Deviant Behavior - e 1 The Promise of...

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e 1 The Promise of Sociology C. WRIGHT MILLS :owadays men often feel that their private lives are a series of traps. They sense that within their everyday worlds, they cannot tcome their troubles, and in this feeling, they often quite correct: What ordinary men are ctly aware of and what they try to do are \lnded by the private orbits in which they live; Jr visions and their powers are limited to the e-up scenes of job, family, neighborhood; in r milieux, they move vicariously and remain cctators. And the more aware they become, I'yer vaguely, of ambitions and of threats .-h, transcend their immediate locales, the trapped they seem to feel. Underlying this sense of being trapped are mingly impersonal changes in the very steuc- of continent-wide societies. The facts of temporary history are also facts about the suc- and the failure of individual men and ~I~lllen. When a society is industrialized, a peas- ~,'itl)t becomes a worker; a feudal lord is liquidated QJ; becomes a businessman. When classes rise or ~,a man is employed or unemployed; when the .. ~ ofinvestment goes up or down, a man takes ,~ew heart or goes broke. When wars happen, an i;;f1ul.lt ance salesman becomes a rocket launcher; a store derk, a radar man; a wife lives alone; a child grows up without a father. Neither the life of an individual nor the history of a society can be understood without understanding both. Yet men do not usually define the troubles they endure in terms of historical change and institutional contradiction. The well-being they enjoy, they do not usually impute to the big ups and downs of the societies in which they live' Seldom aware of the intricate connection between the patterns of their own lives and the course of world history, ordinary men do not usually know what this connection means for the kinds ofmen they are becoming and for the kinds ofhistory-making in which they might take part. They do not possess the quality of mind essential to grasp the interplay of man and society, or biog- raphy and history, of self and world. They cannot cope with their personal troubles in such ways as to control the structural transformations that usu- ally lie behind them. Surely it is no wonder. In what period have so many men been so totally exposed at so fast a pace to such earthquakes of change? That Americans have not known such catastrophic changes as have the men and women of other societies is due to ~it~ from TIu' SodoJogy I/1/aginal/oll by C. Wright Min. . , © :2000 by Oxford University Press, Inc Used by pemis- _}: ot Oxtord Univ~rsiry Press, Inc 1
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THE PROMISE OF SOCIOLOGY 2 historical facts that are now quickly becoming "merely history." The history that now affects every man is world history. Within this scene and . this period, in the course of a single generation, one-sixth ofmankind is transformed from all that is feudal and backward into all that is modern, advanced, and fearful. Political colonies are freed; new and less visible forms ofimperialism installed.
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This document was uploaded on 10/27/2011 for the course SOCIOLOGY 304 at Rutgers.

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Sociology of Deviant Behavior - e 1 The Promise of...

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