The Sociological Imagination

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Having written The Sociological Imagination in 1959, C. Wright Mills was brought up in a society far more different and archaic than the idea of contemporary society today. The ideals that were imparted to him during his lifetime provided a framework to the ideals that are imparted to people today; however, like all incarnations, processes and ideas adapted to situate themselves into the transitioning threads of society. Through his elaboration on the sociological imagination, C. Wright Mills portrays the plight of the average citizen during his time period in a jaded light thereby providing a limited, but nonetheless relevant scope of the sociological plight of the average citizen in contemporary society. Within the first paragraph of the chapter ‘The Promise’, C. Wright Mills depicts the situation of the average citizen: they feel trapped in the toils of their daily life, feeling powerless against the riveting changes in society that beyond their control. Through this observation, Mills places the reader into a mind frame that allows them to understand the essence of the sociological imagination: people’s behavior and attitudes in the context of the social forces that shape them. It allows us to understand the reason why people hold beliefs toward different ideas and why people have differing views. This idea is fascinating for it still remains pertinent to life today—despite the half-century time span. Even today, people continue to feel this suffocation. Today, people continue to feel as if society is changing beyond their control, and to find themselves, they must hold onto their beliefs. Thus, the difference in society is created. People with different sociological locations are confronted with the issue of accelerating ... ... middle of paper ... plight of the average citizen in contemporary society. Yet, despite having such a limited scope, Mills provides relevant and integral information about the social plight of people. His perceptions and ideas referring to personal troubles and social issues help conceptualize the general idea, and his theory of the intersection between history and biography also provides a foundation for the knowledge of sociology to be understood. While there may be exceptions to certain postulates that he states, the basic idea is understood. What perhaps makes the concepts so easy to comprehend is the relations that Mills makes about his society and period and the connections we can make with our society and our period—while there may be numerical or factual differences, the fact of the matter is that his ideas are timeless and apply to all different dimensions of sociology.
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