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Analysis of the Sociological Imagination

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Analysis of The Sociological Imagination

Prior to analyzing the fundamental components of C. Wright Mills' great work, The Sociological Imagination, I should probably emphasize that like all sociologists Mills is attempting to draw conclusions about individual feelings about themselves and their place in society. In a manner of speaking this work, like all others, must be considered a subjective interpretation of societal behavior and individual conceptions. Ideally, we can consider Mills to have a lucid critique of individual circumstance and historical implications of overall change in societies. Formally, I will proceed to evaluate the scope of this book from various aspects followed by iterating why he might consider sociologists to be simply mere robots. Lastly, as all supposedly great sociologists are molded by prior models, I will explain how Marx's traditions and the enlightenment ideologies directly affected Mills' works.

It is harsh but true: Mills' work has a tendency to initially stifle you. He begins by stating that, "nowadays people often feel that their private lives are a series of traps." This opening convinces the reader that Mills believes that our private lives are bound by set constraints. These constraints spring up to catch the every day individual by surprise. They restrict intellectual, psychological, physical, and emotional prowess or movement. He commences to point out that individuals might simply 'sense' this containment but are bewildered by circumstances beyond their control. These events invoke fear, hostility, and hopelessness into countless individuals, who find themselves beset by 'troubles' which they perceive solely as private conditions which must be individualized (Mills 1-20).

This perspective has a tendency to alienate the individual from understanding that the greater society is rampant with similar situations. Mills points out that some individuals are limited in their scope of being able to see that their actions are inhibited by external societal events. He generates a sense of hopelessness in his every argument. For the common reader, it is almost like Mills is dictating that 'resistance is futile' and you might as well accept what society dishes out to you. It is not until you truly look in depth, that you recognize that he indicates that people recognize their individual troubles but can not acutely determine that their origins are external. Considered spectators, such people are aware only of their limited interactions with their job, family, and immediate neighborhood.

This limitation can be overcome via individual awareness as well as sociologists presenting more information about what is happening in society. He states that there are many essential components to understanding society as whole, and recognizing how those components constantly interact with one another. This interaction has various elements of change which must be analyzed from a sociological aspect. Furthermore, essential features of society's change in human history should be questioned, recorded, analyzed, and characterized. This allows for classic social analysts to gauge the relevance of this change in regard to humankind and determine which manner of individual characteristic has allowed for success or failure (Mills 143-150).

Mills commences that when aspiring to make change or seeking to achieve ambitions people sense these threats more intensely. This is because they are being more and more aware of their limitations and confinements. This sense of entrapment is validated by those achieving semi-awareness upon feeling the "impersonal changes in the very structure of the continent-wide societies." In general, Mills believes this is a ripple-like affect of people believing that their existence has no merit; that their existence is worthless or pointless in the face of history and change. Once again, Mills is a bit harsh in his emphasis that the common person is driven by change. This change is what seems to matter and not the individual's existence. From a sociological perspective, change has an affect on every aspect and entity in societies. Undoubtedly, this change might originate from various circumstances but it results in a reevaluation of an entity's existence.

For instance, Mills points out that contemporary history reflects that success and failure of the common person is driven by being flexible to the changes surrounding them. He emphasizes that the role of a person changes dependent upon an event. Mills also dictates that humankind's sociology and history are the foundation stones which are constantly interacting with individual lives. This interaction is also to be used in evaluating successes and failures of individual acts and psychologies. By evaluating their place in history, individuals can determine humanity's developments and features of that development that are essential to sociological change. So for example, should a war start a simple insurance salesman can turn into a rocket launcher technician. This is because it becomes necessary for that individual to take a new role because society needs AND expects it of him. Hence, this change becomes predominant and the person before becomes lost in that change. This air of hopelessness and fear develops more and more as changes appear to pick up speed. It becomes evident in the eyes of those who are being aware of this change that this conversion is occurring. Furthermore, these rapid developments have lead humankind to a period where never "have so many people become so totally exposed at so fast a pace to such earthquakes of change" as Mills so eloquently puts it.

Mills' position is such that he believes Americans have not experienced or recognized these changes as acutely as those in less developed countries. Historical facts and events have lead people in other countries to experience more about changes in all societies; whereas, Americans have had limited respect or regard for history and have tendency to ignore it. In hustle and bustle of capitalism, humankind has seen that feudal society are ceasing to exist and the new wave of the future is all about what is "modern, advanced, and fearful". This swift change has created more capitalistic authorities which are run by bureaucratic structures and red tape. These bureaucracies are set in their ways of rational decision making without regard for the human great good or individual opinion. As a result of blindly accepting leadership and its orders, humankind has misplaced its empathy for apathy. Mills reiterates that the cultural meaning of "social sciences"



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