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The Sociological Imagination [Kindle Edition]

C. Wright Mills , Todd Gitlin
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

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Book Description

C. Wright Mills is best remembered for his highly acclaimed work The Sociological Imagination, in which he set forth his views on how social science should be pursued. Hailed upon publication as a cogent and hard-hitting critique, The Sociological Imagination took issue with the ascendant schools of sociology in the United States, calling for a humanist sociology connecting the social, personal, and historical dimensions of our lives. The sociological imagination Mills calls for is a sociological vision, a way of looking at the world that can see links between the apparently private problems of the individual and important social issues.


Editorial Reviews

Review

"A classic I plan to use in all my general sociology courses."--Caroline Fielding, Lake Sumter Community College

"Performs an essential task in the service of intellectual lucidity and truth."--American Scholar

"A challenge, a stimulus, and incitement to students everywhere to look at sociology with a fresh and clearer vision."--Times Literary Supplement (London)

"Good for grad-level introduction to the meaning of social science."--J.D. Peters, University of Iowa

"A very fine book that will be recommended to students as a supplemental reading."--George Cucore, Cheyney State College

"Remains as timely as when it was first published."--Joseph A. Scimacaw, George Mason University

Review


Praise for the original edition: "A challenge, a stimulus, and incitement to students everywhere to look at sociology with a fresh and clearer vision."--Times Literary Supplement (London)



Product Details

  • File Size: 438 KB
  • Print Length: 255 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0195133730
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA; 40th anniversary edition (February 28, 2000)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000SEOIK6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #63,403 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
44 of 47 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
No one has written with more verve and authority about the awesome and frightening capabilities of man than the late C. Wright Mills, a prominent and controversial sociologist who wrote such memorable tomes as "White Collar", an exploration of the emerging American Middle class in the early 1950s, and The Power Elite", a provocative examination of the nature of power, privilege, and status in the United States, and how each of these three critical elements of power and property in this country are irrevocably connected to each other. At last look, both books were still in print and are still used in both undergraduate and graduate sociology courses throughout the world. After fifty years, that in and of itself is powerful testimony to his enduring value as a scholar and an original thinker.
Here Mills focuses memorably on the qualities and uses of the sociological perspective in modern life, how such a scientifically based way of looking at, interpreting, and interacting with the larger world invests its user with a better, more accurate, and quite instrumental picture of what is happening meaningfully around him. For Mills, the key to understanding the value in such a perspective is in appreciating that one can only understand the motives, behavior, and actions of others by locating them within a wider and more meaningful context that connects their personal biographies with the large social circumstances that surround, direct, and propel them at any given historical moment. For Mills, for example, trying to understand the reasoning behind the sometimes desperate actions of Jews in Nazi Germany without appreciating the horrifyingly unique existential circumstances they found themselves in is hopelessly anachronistic and limited.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Robust Problems Define Excellence July 13, 2001
Format:Paperback
TThis is a masterful work by an original thinker. Wright was concerned with the developments that he was seeing in the social sciences in his time. He was concerned that the social sciences was developing in ways that limited its value to humanity and therefore to itself. He saw the social science of his day as working against true freedom in society by allowing itself to be used to manipulate the population into unthinking acceptance of established authority.
He saw two major trends that removed the social sciences from addressing robust problems whose solution would make genuine differences to humanity. The first was a retreat into 'Theory' so abstract that it was unable to describe anything of significance. Wright uses as an example an article that describes a theory of human relationships that was so abstracted from reality that, as Wright shows, it could not capture the fact that sometimes people accept the norms of their society unwillingly. This theory was wrapped in such opaque jargon to unambiguously define the trivial that it last all relationship to genuine society.
Wright also identifies as a further development in the social sciences, an empiricism so constrained by technique that it can only address the most specific and mundane problem. If theory has become to remote and abstract to contact real society this empiricism is equivalent in being so immersed in the specifics of a society that it cannot capture more than the trivial.
Wright's book is a plea to social scientists to abandon these two enterprises and to return to a social science which is concerned with problems whose solutions will change society,. He calls the ability to find and understand such problems the sociological imagination. He sees practitioners of this form of sociology as inherently political.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
I first came across this book when I was an undergraduate doing a course on introduction to sociology. It was on the required reading list. I had to confess, when I first encountered it, I did not know what to make of the book nor what the fuss was all about.
Now, many years later, I have just finished re-reading the book and am now convinced why this is a classic in the literature of the Social Sciences. Mills in this book seeks to advocate a certain ideal in the discipline of sociology. Known as the sociological imagination, he advocates the idea of using sociology to bear on the unease which man(in a generic sense!) faces in his daily life. Mills is arguing that much of unease felt by the individual has social roots, i.e., it is shared by many others. The cause of such unease has to do with the structure of society and changes that is happening in it. Hence, there is a great need for sociologists (and other social scientists) to articulate how such unease has sociological causes and thus enabling the individual to understand how his biography intersects with the structure and history of his society. In this way, hopefully it will empower to individuals to transform such unease into public issues in order to bring about changes in society.
Overall, this work is intelligently written as well as being morally challenging.Sure, much has changed since the first publication of this book but it is a good place to start for those who wants to find out what is sociology and to those who wants to be reacquainted with the ideals of sociology.
It is a morally challenging work which needs to be read and re-read time and again!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Double edge review BOOK = 5 * SELLER = 1 *
The Sociological Imagination is a classic in the field of sociological literature and should be read by EVERY student of sociology and it has been voted one of the best works ever... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars good intro book
really cool reading! my students (the ones who read it) actually liked it, I think. it's not hard to understand it.
Published 9 months ago by kelly
5.0 out of 5 stars Like Brand New
I rated this with a 5 star because it was like brand new but it was actually used. That showed me that it was only given to responsible people. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Monique
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST Read For Any Social Scientist
Anyone who does or will be doing research, you MUST read this book. Mills is spot on in his arguments, and as a Criminologist, he has changed the way I view research entirely. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Criminologist99
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic classic that's still very relavent today.
Everyone living in a democratic society should read and practice the sociological imagination. You won't be disappointed with this book. It's a great read.
Published 14 months ago by john G. -
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!
I chose this book for a project in my sociology class and I'm happy I did. It was pleasurable to read and the I liked the organization of the chapters. Read more
Published 21 months ago by stacy hall
5.0 out of 5 stars amazing book!
if you are sociology major or any sort and you do not have this book, you are seriously missing out! it is an amazing guide to the pursuit of the field!
Published 21 months ago by farhan sadique
1.0 out of 5 stars Sociological Imagination
I did not understand any of the concepts to this book. It was way over my head!!! I'm an honor roll student and I didn't get 95% of this book. Boring. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Kyle Reed
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books of sociological theory
Worth every penny and time spent. A reference book for every sociologist. indispensable reading for any level professional sociologist, whether student, teacher or professional.
Published 23 months ago by MarceloC
4.0 out of 5 stars educational imagination
This book has vivid language and discriptions that real imagination is needed to interpret. Its information may very well be applicable to modern day research methods, but its... Read more
Published on March 20, 2012 by nigel
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