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I. C. Wright Mills: The Sociological Imagination


I. C. Wright Mills: The Sociological Imagination. II. Using the Sociological ... C. Wright Mills: Sociology as a Form of Imagination ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: I. C. Wright Mills: The Sociological Imagination

I. C. Wright Mills The Sociological Imagination
II. Using the Sociological Imagination and
Explorit Data to Follow in Durkheims footsteps
in Understanding Suicide
C. Wright Mills Sociology as a Form of
  • A product of its time that still speaks
    powerfully to us today
  • What is the sociological imagination basically
  • Where does he fit in the visions of sociology
    discussed last time?
  • a quality of mind

The Connection Between History and Biography
The sociological imagination enables us to grasp
history and biography and the relations between
the two within society. That is its task and its
promise No social study that does not come back
to the problems of biography, of history and of
their intersections within a society has
completed its intellectual journey.
The Connection Between Personal Troubles and
Public Issues
Perhaps the most fruitful distinction with which
the sociological imagination works is between
the personal troubles of milieu and the public
issues of social structure. This distinction is
an essential tool of the sociological imagination
and a feature of all classic work in social
Personal Troubles and Public Issues
Troubles occur within the character of the
individual and within the range of his immediate
relations with others.A trouble is a private
matter values cherished by an individual are
felt by him to be threatened.
Personal Troubles and Public Issues
Issues have to do with matters that transcend
these local environments of the individuals and
the range of his inner life. They have to do
with the organization of such milieux into the
institutions of an historical society as a
wholeAn issueoften involves a crisis in
institutional arrangements
Personal Troubles and Public Issues
In these terms, consider unemployment. When, in
a city of 100,000, only one man is unemployed,
that is his personal trouble, and for its relief
we properly look to the character of the man, his
skills, and his immediate opportunities. But
when in a nation of 50 million employees, 15
million men are unemployed, that is an issue, and
we may not hope to find its solution within the
range of opportunities open to any one
The Sociological Imagination
To understand the changes of many personal
milieux we are required to look beyond them...To
be aware of the idea of social structure and to
use it with sensibility is to be capable of
tracing such linkages...To be able to do that is
to possess the sociological imagination....
A Sociological Classic that illustrates the
sociological imagination Emile Durkheims
Suicide a Study in Sociology (1899)
  • Our task today To use the sociological
    imagination to reinvent Durkheims theory of
    suicide, using the Explorit/Microcase program.
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