“The Sociological Imagination” as Cliché: Perils of Sociology and Practices of Journalism



The “sociological imagination” that connects personal troubles to public issues is an idea that was in the air when C. Wright Mills gave it a name and advanced it in a way to make it part of the intellectual armament of the New Left. Later, journalistic practice would turn it into a cliché while sociology would assume prematurely that it was a weapon for the left rather than a tool that could be used from and for different political positions. This essay is a set of second thoughts about the meaning of the “sociological imagination” since Mills.


Sociological imagination Journalism Anecdotal lead Anti-commercial bias Rosa Parks Martin Luther King, Jr. Individuals 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of JournalismColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of CommunicationUniversity of California, San DiegoLa JollaUSA

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