Putting C. Wright Mills in his place

John David Brewer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

CHARLES WRIGHT MILLS commands a footnote in the history of sociology. With the exception of The Sociological Imagination, his work is largely forgotten save for a diminishing band of devotees, for whom he remains iconic. Following his early death in 1962, at the age of 46, there was a spate of studies reviewing his work, which simultaneously rendered this rebel into a more benign figure and sanctified him. Sociology as a discipline however, tends to quickly forget its lesser gods and consider them only as part of its past. Citations to this kind of sociologist tend to fall off rapidly when they die, although routinely they are rediscovered half a lifetime later. Renewed assessments of C. Wright Mills's life and career have followed publication over the last decade of large parts of the archive of his private letters, giving the re-engagement with Mills a pronounced biographical focus.
CHARLES WRIGHT MILLS commands a footnote in the history of sociology. With the exception of The Sociological Imagination, his work is largely forgotten save for a diminishing band of devotees, for whom he remains iconic. Following his early death in 1962, at the age of 46, there was a spate of studies reviewing his work, which simultaneously rendered this rebel into a more benign figure and sanctified him. Sociology as a discipline however, tends to quickly forget its lesser gods and consider them only as part of its past. Citations to this kind of sociologist tend to fall off rapidly when they die, although routinely they are rediscovered half a lifetime later. Renewed assessments of C. Wright Mills's life and career have followed publication over the last decade of large parts of the archive of his private letters, giving the re-engagement with Mills a pronounced biographical focus.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)417-422
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Sociology
Volume45
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2004

Cite this