Concept

The Sociological Imagination

Summary
The Sociological Imagination is a 1959 book by American sociologist C. Wright Mills published by Oxford University Press. In it, he develops the idea of sociological imagination, the means by which the relation between self and society can be understood. Mills felt that the central task for sociology and sociologists was to find (and articulate) the connections between the particular social environments of individuals (also known as "milieu") and the wider social and historical forces in which they are enmeshed. The approach challenges a structural functionalist approach to sociology, as it opens new positions for the individual to inhabit with regard to the larger social structure. Individual function that reproduces larger social structure is only one of many possible roles and is not necessarily the most important. Mills also wrote of the danger of malaise (apathy), which he saw as inextricably embedded in the creation and maintenance of modern societies. This led him to question
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