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

  • Michael SchudsonEmail author


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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