By John D. Brewer (auth.)
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Extra resources for C. Wright Mills and the Ending of Violence
It perforce requires the sociologist to show the intersection between the private troubles of these ordinary people and public issues in society. It is a sociological imagination that must not be so abstract that it ignores the public issues – the concerns and threats – of real people in real settings brought about by the crises of reason and freedom (2000 : 173, also see p. 187). It is a view of sociology that recognises that the personal milieux of ordinary people in which they live out their personal biography are shaped by both a history that is made ‘behind their backs’ (2000 : 182) and a social structure that has a life independent of their actions and experiences.
Becker (1994) refers to his ‘undoubted machismo’. His letters reveal a surprising manner with women, at least to our generation. He was writing in a context before women’s liberation but he was wont to make a few gratuitous comments in his letters on women’s bodies – he referred to one well-known female writer as ‘chronologically fifty; body: 30; face: lovely, early forty’ (Mills and Mills, 2000: 64). He was voracious in those appetites as well; he had affairs with at least one of his research assistants (whom he later married).
Politics is implanted on this intersection by the focus placed on the mobilisation strategies of key political actors. In Chapter 4 the political dimension of the sociological imagination is given greater attention when we look at the way in which social structural factors and political events, nationally and internationally, combined to impact on the ending of violence.