The Sociological Imagination C. Wright Mills Essay

2644 Words Oct 12th, 2014 11 Pages
1.1 In The Sociological Imagination C. Wright Mills describes the sociological imagination as enabling “us to grasp history and biography and the relations between the two within society” (Mills [1959] 2000:6). The sociological imagination facilitates individuals to locate themselves within society, the historical context of their society, and recognize the other individuals that are in his or her same state. “The sociological imagination enables its possessor to understand the larger historical scene in terms of its meaning for the inner life and external career of a variety of individuals” (Mills [1959] 2000:5). This enables people to understand their own experience and gauge fate.
1.2 Classical social theory and Mills’ conception of the sociological imagination agree that individual lives are shaped by the macro or super structures. Thus, according to classical social theorists and Mills, theories are needed to explain the empirical world.
1.3 Mills criticizes the approach and results of grand theorists and abstracted empiricists. First Mills argues that sociologists cannot sit in their offices and come up with grand theories to satisfy an explanation for society. According to Mills grand theorists “think without observing” and yet others “observe without thinking” ([1959] 2000:33). Thus grand theorists lack the connection to empirical life and their theories are meaningless. Second Mills argues that abstracted empiricists are not theory driven. They collect data and…

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