This book is intended as an accessible, current, and uncompromised introduction to what C Wright Mills called the sociological imagination. It explains and demonstrates the value of the sociological imagination vis-á-vis the demands of today's postmodern society, critically addresses the chief forces working against its development, and invites students to adopt this form of self-consciousness as their own.
- Chapter 1: Sociology, or Imaginative Reflections from Empirically Damaged Life
- What is This Book about?
- Is This Book Depressing?
- Max Weber and the Classical View of Modernity
- Sociology as Critical Theory
- Looking Ahead
Part I: Developing an Orientation to Self and Society
- Chapter 2: The Big Picture, or a Brief Survey of Our Dying World
- More Life, More Death
- The Significance of Conservation Biology
- More Sun, Less Fun
- Social Facts as Social Fate?
- Chapter 3: The Small Picture, or Yesterday's Dystopias as Today's Everyday Life
- The Making of the “Big Picture”
- The Making of the “Small Picture”
- At the Edges of the Small Picture
- Emotions in Postmodern Times
- Postmodern Bodies
- Power and Agency
- Is There No Way Out?
- Chapter 4: Toward a Postmodern Sociological Imagination and a Sociological Imagination for Postmodern Times
- What is the Sociological Imagination?
- Postmodern Extremes
- Looking Back on Mills
Part II: Applying the Sociological Imagination: Three Models
- Chapter 5: A Wrong Child: Analyzing the Unanalyzable
- Getting to Know James Lyon Bérubé
- Identities and Nonidentity
- Arrogant Categories
- The Necessity of Conceptualization and Communication
- World-Historical Mimesis?
- The Shadow Cast by “Christmas in Purgatory”
- Chapter 6: Generation X: A Phantom Subject
- What is a Generation?
- The Origin of Generation X
- The Cultural Apparatus
- Enter the “Improbable Guru” of the 1960s
- W[h]ither the Sociological Imagination?
- Radicalizing the Sociological Imagination
- Generation X's Common Destiny
- Chapter 7: Religion and Society: Of Gods and Demons
- The Classical View of Religion
- Observable Patterns
- Religious Institutions as Social Institutions
- Of Deferred Dreams and Blasted Hopes
- Religion and Social Change
- The Borderland between Faith and Reason
- The Sociological Imagination and Postmodern Religion
- Convergence at the Extremes?
Part III: The Social Forces Working against the Sociological Imagination
- Chapter 8: The Degradation of the Public Sphere
- Propaganda Techniques 101
- The Public Sphere and Mass Media
- Beyond Time
- Theorizing the Degradation of the Public Sphere
- Sociology and Democracy
- Chapter 9: The End of History
- A Brief History of Time and Space
- Fukuyama and Wallerstein: Taking it Too Big
- Stone and Lee: Taking it Too Small
- After the End of History?
- Chapter 10: Sociology without Society
- The Problem
- Sociology with Society
- Local and Global
- The Division of Sociological Labor
- Sociology and Society
Part IV: Looking Back, Looking Ahead