Mills, C. Wright

Mills, C. Wright

▪ American sociologist
in full  Charles Wright Mills 
born August 28, 1916, Waco, Texas, U.S.
died March 20, 1962, Nyack, New York

      American sociologist who, with Hans H. Gerth, applied and popularized Max Weber (Weber, Max)'s theories in the United States. He also applied Karl Mannheim (Mannheim, Karl)'s theories on the sociology of knowledge to the political thought and behaviour of intellectuals.

      Mills received his A.B. and A.M. from the University of Texas in 1939 and his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin in 1941; he joined the sociology faculty at Columbia University in 1946. At Columbia, Mills promoted the idea that social scientists should not merely be disinterested observers engaged in research and theory but assert their social responsibility. He was concerned about the ethics of his sociological peers, feeling that they often failed to affirm moral leadership and thus surrendered their social responsibility and allowed special interests, or people lacking qualifications, to assume positions of leadership.

      Mills's work drew heavily from Weber's differentiation between the various impacts of class, status, and power in explaining stratification systems and politics. His analysis of the major echelons of American society appeared in The New Men of Power, America's Labor Leaders (1948), White Collar (1951), and his best-known work, The Power Elite (1956). In this last book, Mills located the “elite,” or ruling class, among those business, government, and military leaders whose decisions and actions have significant consequences.

      Among his sociological works are Character and Social Structure (1953; with H.H. Gerth) and The Sociological Imagination (1959), a critical evaluation of the status of sociology.

      A strong but controversial intellectual biography can be found in C. Wright Mills, an American Utopian (1983) by Irving Louis Horowitz, while a more personal view of his life appears in C. Wright Mills: Letters and Autobiographical Writings (2000), edited by his daughters, Kathryn and Pamela Mills.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • Mills — /milz/, n. 1. C(harles) Wright, 1916 62, U.S. sociologist. 2. Robert, 1781 1855, U.S. architect and engineer. * * * (as used in expressions) General Mills Inc. Mills Billy William Mervin Mills Mills Charles Wright * * * …   Universalium

  • wright — /ruyt/, n. a worker, esp. a constructive worker (used chiefly in combination): a wheelwright; a playwright. [bef. 900; ME; OE wryhta, metathetic var. of WYRHTA worker; akin to WORK] * * * (as used in expressions) Forrester Jay Wright Mills… …   Universalium

  • Wright — /ruyt/, n. 1. Charles, born 1935, U.S. poet. 2. Frances or Fanny, 1795 1852, U.S. abolitionist and social reformer, born in Scotland. 3. Frank Lloyd, 1867 1959, U.S. architect. 4. James, 1927 80, U.S. poet and translator. 5 …   Universalium

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  • Mills College honorary degree recipients — Mills College, Oakland, California, U.S.A.* 2007 Shirley M. Tilghman * 2007 Roselyne Chroman Swig * 2006 U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer * 2005 Vivian M. Stephenson * 2005 The Honorable Ronald V. Dellums * 2004 Lorry Lokey * 2004 Pauline Oliveros *… …   Wikipedia

  • Mills County, Iowa — Location in the state of Iowa …   Wikipedia

  • Wright — Wright, Frank Lloyd Wright, Richard Wright, Wilbur * * * (as used in expressions) Forrester, Jay Wright Mills, C(harles) Wright Archibald Lee Wright Thomas Wright Waller Wright, Frances Fanny Wright Wright, Frank Lloyd …   Enciclopedia Universal

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