The Sociological Imagination Book Review

“Nowadays people often feel that their private lives are a series of traps. They sense that within their everyday worlds, they cannot overcome their troubles, and in this feeling, they are often quite correct” Mills wrote in his book called The Sociological Imagination.

The main idea expressed by Mills is the fact that people are strongly influenced by social factors and even more, they are trapped by these social issues. And though often they don’t realize that their ups and downs depend on the social structure they live in, the connection is evident and Mills gives a lot of argument to prove his thesis. Written many years ago, Mills’ book describes issues which are still relevant nowadays.

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Written in the period of depression after the Second World War, the book described the state of panic and lost experienced by the most of the people. Mills managed to trace the connection between the economical, social and political processes in the country and the general moral state of people. The similarity was striking. Depression and devastation in economics was reflected in the thoughts and moral state of people. In the first part called Premise Mills tried to post fundamental questions of interrelation between humans and social processes. Finally, he came to the conclusion that “The first fruit of this imagination – and the first lesson of the social science that embodies it – is the idea that the individual can understand her own experience and gauge her own fate only by locating herself within her period, that she can know her own chances in life only by becoming aware of those of all individuals in her circumstances. In many ways it is a terrible lesson; in many ways a magnificent one.” With the data presented in the book Mills proved that such spheres of private life as personal relations, marriages, divorces, birth rate and growing children are strongly influenced by the social processes. The book was written more than half a century ago but we can make sure that appropriatness discovered by Mills are still the same. Major tendency to globalization and integration is reflected in the way of thinking of ordinary people. The boundaries are blurred in social, economic and politic spheres. Same boundaries are blurred in the minds of people who become more open to new experiences and international communication. Crises the political regimes of many countries go through is reflected in the crises of social institutions, which posses personal meaning. The growth of divorce rate can be directly referred to the political instability. “After two centuries of hope, even formal democracy is restricted to a quite small portion of mankind.” This truth expressed by Mills is same relevant today as it was during the time the book was written and the crises of the political power still influences the private life of people. So, the main idea expressed by Mills, “idea that the individual can understand her own experience and gauge her own fate only by locating herself within her period, that she can know her own chances in life only by becoming aware of those of all individuals in her circumstances” is same relevant as it used to be in the past and people are still trapped by social issues.

References

Mills, C. Wright. The Sociological Imagination. New York: Oxford University Press, 1959.

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