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The Sociological Imagination, by C. Wright Mills Essay

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The Sociological Imagination, by C. Wright Mills, is the ability to connect personal trouble with public issues. The sociological imagination, as Wright describes, is “a quality of mind that will help [journalists and scholars, artist and publics, scientist and editors] to use information and to develop reason in order to achieve lucid summations of what is going on in the world and what may be happening” (Mills). This is exactly what Philippe Bourgois applies in his study of street-level drug dealers in his work entitled “In Search Of Respect: Selling Crack in El Barrio”.

The sociological imagination is the realization that outcome is based on the things individuals, or society (as a whole) does. C. Wright Mills writes how the values we have shape us. Our private values may differ from society’s public values. However, by understanding the difference between our personal troubles and public issues, we are able to alter our perspective. Mills explains, “troubles occur within the character of the individual and within the range of his immediate relations with others… A trouble is a...


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