From the same journal

From the same journal

C. Wright Mills 50 Years On: The Promise and Craft of Sociology Revisited

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • Nicholas Boris Gane
  • Les Back


Publication details

JournalTheory, Culture and Society
DatePublished - Dec 2012
Issue number7-8
Number of pages22
Pages (from-to)399-421
Original languageEnglish


This article takes the fiftieth anniversary of the death of American sociologist C. Wright Mills as a cue to revisit his legacy but also the value of sociology today. It argues that the enduring relevance of Mills’ work is his cultivation of a sociological sensibility, which is both an attentive and sensuous craft and also a moral and political project. The article returns to some of the key aspects of Mills’ life and work, and focuses, in particular, on his influential book The Sociological Imagination. Revisiting the opening and closing chapters of this book – entitled ‘The Promise’ and ‘On Intellectual Craftsmanship’ – this article argues that the contemporary social imagination needs to offer its students the capacity to open out to the world through a heightened sensory attentiveness, which in turn makes possible a different kind of social imaginary. In this way Mills’ gift to the future is a sociological sensibility furnished by its tradition, but one also that is constantly re-tuned to the circumstances and problems of the present.

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