Why the 'Sociological Imagination'? A comparison of C. Wright Mills and John Dewey on the role of the imagination

de la Fuente, Eduardo (2005) Why the 'Sociological Imagination'? A comparison of C. Wright Mills and John Dewey on the role of the imagination. In: Proceedings of the Australian Sociological Association Conference. pp. 1-8. From: TASA 2005: Australian Sociological Association Conference, 5-8 December 2005, Hobart, TAS, Australia.

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The Sociological Imagination is a canonic text that has influenced both the teaching of sociology and how academic sociologists approach research. The book's rallying cry is that by possessing a certain 'quality of mind' the individual will be able to see beyond the welter of their own experience to those historical and social forces that shape that experience. The paper compares Mills' formulation of the imagination to Dewey's notion of 'having an experience'. In the latter’s Art as Experience we are told that the 'cold spectator' finds it impossible to experience things as they really are because they rush to conclusions, employ stereotypes and don't see things as 'integral wholes'. While Dewey's formulations are drawn from the philosophy of art they resonate with Mills' notion of 'self-reflective habits' and imaginative linking of hitherto unconnected phenomena. These unexplored parallels between Mills' sociology and Dewey's aesthetics are used to consider the kind of intellectual craftsmanship that the sociological imagination entails, and to assess whether or not this capacity is open to everybody.

Item ID: 40501
Item Type: Conference Item (Research - E1)
ISBN: 978-0-9598460-5-8
Keywords: sociological imagination; mills; dewey; cultural sociology
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Date Deposited: 23 Sep 2015 22:45
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1608 Sociology > 160899 Sociology not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society @ 100%
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