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Thread: The Sociological Imagination

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    The Sociological Imagination

    I want to write here about C. Wright Mills book The Sociological Imagination, and Jock Young's last book, The Criminological Imagination. He died shortly after writing it and Wright Mills is also long dead.

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    Mills' most famous quote is this:

    "Do not allow public issues as they are officially formulated, or troubles as they are privately felt, to determine the problems that you take up for study. Above all, do not give up your moral and political autonomy by accepting in somebody else's terms the illiberal practicality of the bureaucratic ethos or the liberal practicality of the moral scatter. Know that many personal troubles cannot be solved merely as troubles, but must be understood in terms of the problems of the individual life. Know that the human meaning of public issues must be revealed by relating them to personal troubles - and to the problems of the individual life. Know that the problems of social science, when adequately formulated, must include both troubles and issues, both biography and history, and the range of their intricate relations. Within that range, the life of the individual and the making of societies occur; and within that range the sociological imagination has its chance to make a difference in the quality of human life in our time." (Mills 1959 p. 248)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dreamwoven View Post
    Know that the problems of social science, when adequately formulated, must include both troubles and issues, both biography and history, and the range of their intricate relations.
    That is an interesting way of looking at it. One could also say that there is a dynamic interface between one's own history (including a personal Weltanschauung based on life experience and one's own historical situation) and history on a macroscopic level (which will have contributed to that experience and situation). The problem, of course, is conceptualizing a macro-history that does not manipulate or even tyrannize the individual. Is this a problem of subjectivity and objectivity? I don't think so. Historical orthodoxies are inherently suspect--indeed the historian's task is to dissect them as the psychologist's is to dissect the psyche. Perhaps the analogy of personal history as a complex cell interacting with the complex organism of macro-history helpful.

    What are your thoughts?
    Last edited by Pompey Bum; 08-05-2018 at 09:49 AM.
    And this from a man in a bunny suit.

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    Jock Young in The Criminological Imagination (2011) makes this comment (this was why I kept posts 1 and 2 separate, but they were combined). I intended to make the third post one that Jock Young answered. I am hoping to still be able to do that. I think your point is valid, Pompey.

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    It is worth reading the Wikipedia entry on C. Wright Mills: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C._Wright_Mills. Apparently, Mills coined the term The New Left

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    At least in the USA...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dreamwoven View Post
    Jock Young in The Criminological Imagination (2011) makes this comment (this was why I kept posts 1 and 2 separate, but they were combined). I intended to make the third post one that Jock Young answered. I am hoping to still be able to do that. I think your point is valid, Pompey.
    Thanks, DW. What comment did Young make?
    And this from a man in a bunny suit.

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    The turning point came in 1968 with the burst of activity in Britain around the National Deviancy Symposium, which between 1968 and 1973 organised 13 conferences at York:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nation...ancy_Symposium. I went to two of them from London, hiring a car to do so. All this is from Jock Young. But ever since then I have maintained an interest in critical criminology.

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    The Criminological Imagination refers back to the book by C. Wright Mills The Sociological Imagination.

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    On this address I found what looks like the Power Point of an academic presentation by Jock Young.
    people.stu.ca/~mccormic/Jock%20Young.ppt

    (if the link doesn´t work it´s better to google for it)
    "You can always find something better than death."
    Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, The Bremen Town Musicians

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    Googled it but can't find it, but anyway he is dead.

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