The concept of personal troubles and public issues

C. Wright Mills, one of the most prominent contemporary U.S. sociologists. He is also discussed by Macionis in your text. Also read the first chapter of Mills’ Sociological Imagination at in order to become somewhat acquainted with Mills’ own words. This is one of the most influential statements of what sociology is all about and represents the sociological perspective discussed in Chapter 1 of your text. Pay close attention to Mills’ distinction between history and biography and between troubles and issues as this is central to the discipline of sociology.

You also must read the excerpt, posted separately, from Peter Berger’s book, Invitation to Sociology.  Both Mills and Berger have presented to you views of sociology which, while different, are complementary. Think about this complementarity so that you may gain a deeper understanding of both sociologists’ thoughts.  Note that Macionis presents his introduction to the discipline in Chapter 1 citing the work of both Mills and Berger.

You will be contemplating what Mills had to say regarding “personal troubles” and “public issues.”  Explain what Mills means when he speaks of both of these.  Apply these concepts and their meaning to your own life and/or to the life of others and state what results when you do this.  Explain how these ideas of Mills’ help us to better understand ourselves in relation to our society.

Also consider and discuss why the idea implicit in Berger’s arguments, that those who are content with the status quo may not be as able to acquire a sociological perspective, would be true.

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