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Sunday, March 25, 2007

A remembrance for C. Wright Mills

Those of us who have dipped deeply into that marvellous well labelled Sociology will be aware of C. Wright Mills. While relating to the American tradition, the writings of C. Wright Mills served as an impetus for critiquing Australian society as well. He set afire the sociological imagination. The Power Elite is not only seminal. It is timeless. This week, the forty-fifth anniversary of the death of C. Wright Mills was commemorated. For more, see here and here.

And if, dear Reader, you wonder about whether the personal is political or the political is personal, think on 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 public issues - and in terms of the problems of history making. 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.