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.
A fascinating and controversial study of the organization of our society, this well-known volume depicts the style and substance of the men and women at the pinnacles of fame, power, and fortune in mid-1900s America. Alan Wolfe's astute afterword to this new edition shows how Mills was a pioneer in helping readers think about the society they have and the society they might want.
This inaugural volume of the Pine Forge Press Social Thinkers series provides a concise introduction to the work, life, and influences of C. Wright Mills. Accessible and provocative, this book closely examines the writings and ideas of C. Wright Mills that now, over half a century later, remain crucial in better understanding today's world. The book's primary focus is on two of his lifelong intellectual concerns: the interrelationship between social structure and personality and the bureaucratization of modern society and the power relations it produces. The book is ideal for use as a self-contained volume or in conjunction with sociological theory textbooks.
In print for fifty years, White Collar by C. Wright Mills is considered a standard on the subject of the new middle class in twentieth-century America. This landmark volume demonstrates how the conditions and styles of middle class life--originating from elements of both the newer lower and upper classes--represent modern society as a whole. By examining white-collar life, Mills aimed to learn something about what was becoming more typically "American" than the once-famous Western frontier character. He painted a picture instead of a society that had evolved into a business-based milieu, viewing America instead as a great salesroom, an enormous file, and a new universe of management. Russell Jacoby, author of The End of Utopia and The Last Intellectuals, contributes a new Afterword to this edition, in which he reflects on the impact White Collar had at its original publication and considers what it means to our society today. "A book that persons of every level of the white collar pyramid should read and ponder. It will alert them to their condition for their better salvation."-Horace M. Kaellen, The New York Times (on the first edition)
Max Weber (1864-1920) was one of the most prolific and influential sociologists of the twentieth century. This classic collection draws together his key papers. This edition contains a new preface by Professor Bryan S. Turner.
Not long after co-authoring The Port Huron Statement, the charter document of sixties activism, Tom Hayden completed, at the University of Michigan, an intellectual biography of eminent scholar C. Wright Mills. It is published here for the first time, along with newly written essays by Hayden and by prominent social theorists who are experts on Mills and his ongoing influence today. Hayden cogently traces Mills' scholarship and his progressive activism to the events and thinkers of earlier generations. Ideas in major books by Mills (The Power Elite, New Men of Power, White Collar, Character and Social Structure, The Sociological Imagination) can now be better understood in light of the influences of Mills during and before his time, including the impact of two world wars, the Great Depression and the New Deal, the failures of the Soviet state, and changing relations between workers and industry in America and worldwide. The book thus brings us a new and much more complete understanding Mills's political theories and philosophy. With only one previous biography of Mills in print, this book is a major contribution to our understanding of C. Wright Mills in American intellectual life.
An Exercise in the Art of Sociological Imagination
Author: A. Javier Treviño
Publisher: UNC Press Books
Category: Social Science
In C. Wright Mills and the Cuban Revolution, A. Javier Trevino reconsiders the opinions, perspectives, and insights of the Cubans that Mills interviewed during his visit to the island in 1960. On returning to the United States, the esteemed and controversial sociologist wrote a small paperback on much of what he had heard and seen, which he published as Listen, Yankee: The Revolution in Cuba. Those interviews--now transcribed and translated--are interwoven here with extensive annotations to explain and contextualize their content. Readers will be able to "hear" Mills as an expert interviewer and ascertain how he used what he learned from his informants. Trevino also recounts the experiences of four central figures whose lives became inextricably intertwined during that fateful summer of 1960: C. Wright Mills, Fidel Castro, Juan Arcocha, and Jean-Paul Sartre. The singular event that compelled their biographies to intersect at a decisive moment in the history of Cold War geopolitics--with its attendant animosities and intrigues--was the Cuban Revolution.
A Native Radical and His American Intellectual Roots
Author: Rick Tilman
Publisher: University Park [Pa.] : Pennsylvania State University Press
Category: Biography & Autobiography
The first thorough examination of C. Wright Mills's intellectual roots, this book also is the first to present Mills's full analysis in his unpublished as well as published writings of the work of his precursors, mentors, and critics. Mills' intellectual line of descent is traced from the American institutional economists, especially Thorstein Veblen and Clarence Ayres, and the American pragmatists, especially John Dewey and George H. Mead--an evolution influenced though not determined by ideas from Europe. Always the critic and gadfly, Mills subjected all theories to his special brand of analysis and synthesis. For example, his books on U.S. social stratification are seen by Tilman as a trilogy updating Veblen with ideas from the pragmatists, spiced with a good bit of Max Weber but very little Man. Power, his other chief concern, also was subjected to his creative American eclecticism. As a lifelong seeker of knowledge, Mills studied the great European social thinkers--notably Marx, Mosca, Pareto, Michels, Weber, Mannheim, and Freud--until his untimely death. Explaining Mills's self-description as a "plain Marxist," Tilman writes that it "amounted to little more than a willingness to use Marx's values, vocabulary, and model when these seemed relevant and to ignore them when they did not." Regarding alleged affinities between Freud and Mills, Tilman argues these were "tenuous at best and, although the linkage with the neo-Freudians was stronger, Mills remained critical of Homey and Fromm because they had "not succeeded in entirely overcoming Freud's biological metaphysic." Although the American radical tradition is complex and varied, the heritage that most influenced Mills, Tilman contends, contains elements of evangelical Protestantism and of liberal pragmatism. "It was Charles Wright Mills more than any other thinker in recent years," he concludes, "who synthesized these strands of thought and then wove them into an authentic American radical theory."
C. Wright Mills’s 1959 book The Sociological Imagination is widely regarded as one of the most influential works of post-war sociology. At its heart, the work is a closely reasoned argument about the nature and aims of sociology, one that sets out a manifesto and roadmap for the field. Its wide acceptance and popular reception is a clear demonstration of the rhetorical power of Wright’s strong reasoning skills. In critical thinking, reasoning involves the creation of an argument that is strong, balanced, and, of course, persuasive. In Mills’s case, this core argument makes a case for what he terms the “sociological imagination”, a particular quality of mind capable of analyzing how individual lives fit into, and interact with, social structures. Only by adopting such an approach, Mills argues, can sociologists see the private troubles of individuals as the social issues they really are. Allied to this central argument are supporting arguments for the need for sociology to maintain its independence from corporations and governments, and for social scientists to steer away from ‘high theory’ and focus on the real difficulties of everyday life. Carefully organized, watertight and persuasive, The Sociological Imagination exemplifies reasoned argument at its best.
C. Wright Mills, the Left, and American Social Thought
Author: Dan Geary
Publisher: Univ of California Press
Category: Social Science
Sociologist, social critic, and political radical C. Wright Mills (1916-1962) was one of the leading public intellectuals in twentieth century America. Offering an important new understanding of Mills and the times in which he lived, Radical Ambition challenges the captivating caricature that has prevailed of him as a lone rebel critic of 1950s complacency. Instead, it places Mills within broader trends in American politics, thought, and culture. Indeed, Daniel Geary reveals that Mills shared key assumptions about American society even with those liberal intellectuals who were his primary opponents. The book also sets Mills firmly within the history of American sociology and traces his political trajectory from committed supporter of the Old Left labor movement to influential herald of an international New Left. More than just a biography, Radical Ambition illuminates the career of a brilliant thinker whose life and works illustrate both the promise and the dilemmas of left-wing social thought in the United States.
When C. Wright Mills published The New Men of Power in 1948, he thought labor leaders a new strategic elite and the unions a set of vanguard organizations that were crucial to "stopping the main drift towards war and slump." Today, as the unions once again seek to play a decisive role in American life, Mills' remarkable probe into the structure and ideology of mid-twentieth-century trade unionism remains essential reading. A new introduction by historian Nelson Lichtenstein offers insight into the Millsian political world at the time he wrote The New Men of Power.
C. Wright Mills and the Making of Political Intellectuals
Author: Stanley Aronowitz
Publisher: Columbia University Press
C. Wright Mills (1916-1962) transformed the independent American Left in the 1940s and 1950s. Often challenging the established ideologies and approaches of fellow leftist thinkers, Mills was central to creating and developing the idea of the "public intellectual" in postwar America and laid the political foundations for the rise of the New Left in the 1960s. This book reconstructs this icon's formation and the new dimension of American political life that followed his work.