Sociological Imagination 1

Happy new year 2019!

Welcome to here (place), now (time), and my re-purposed blog (medium).

Recently I have been reading C. Wright Mills’ The Sociological Imagination for the first time. It was in this classic Sociological text that Mills both christened the concept of “Sociological Imagination” and demonstrated how to use it as a guide in answering questions about who we are as homo sapiens. Mills’ place was the United States of America and his time was 14 years after the end of World War II.

As Mills put it “…the individual can understand his own experience and gauge his own fate only by locating himself within his period, [and] … he [sic] can know his own chances in life only by becoming aware of those of all individuals his [similar] circumstances” (Mills 1959).

Today is December 29, 2018 (three days from 2019) and it’s been 15 years since the beginning of the conflict in Iraq/Afghanistan and the start of “Global War on Terrorism”. These 15 years have reshaped, again, the same cultures and societies that Mills observed and wrote about.

For me it’s 14 years since I returned home from the war in Iraq.

I, like Mills, seek answers about who homo sapiens are, specifically the ones who happened to land in the lap of privilege, i.e. “us” North Americans who live in this time and in this place;  “us”: snowflakes and tough guys, “us”: naughty and nice girls, “us” gamers, addicts, and role-players… us, US, US(A).   Who are we rn?

But in order to get to the question more specifically and academically,  I intent to boldly attempt to answer the following questions from Mills, and thus derive my work from his, attempting to build on the foundation laid by him and many other social scientists.  Here are Mills’ questions:

“(1) What is the structure of this particular society as a whole? What are it’s essential components, and how are they related to one another?  How does it differ from other varieties of social order?  Within it, what is the meaning of any particular feature for its continuance and its change?

“(2) Where does this society stand in human history?  What are the mechanics by which it is changing?  What is its place within and its meaning for the development of humanity as a whole? How does any particular feature we are examining affect, and how is it affected by, the historical period in which it moves?  And this period– what are its essential features?  How does it differ from other periods?  What are its characteristic ways of history-making?

“(3)What varieties of men and women now prevail in this society and this period? and what varieties are coming to prevail? In what ways are they selected and formed, liberated and repressed, made sensitive and blunted?  What kinds of ‘human nature’ are revealed in the conduct and character we observe in this society and period?  And what is the meaning for ‘human nature’ of each and every feature of the society we are examining?” (Mills, 1959, pg 6-7)

Should be a lot of fun.  Now Kneel before me!

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