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As used by C. W. Mills the term sociological imagination refers to the ability to imagine and understand the intersection between personal biography and historical social structures. Sociological imagination is the essence of sociology. Sociological imagination is imagining that every individual's life is given meaning, form and significance within historically specific cultures and ways of organizing social life. People having a sociological imagination then are identical with being good sociologists.

The term was coined by the American sociologist C. Wright Mills in his book "The Sociological Imagination" to describe the type and depth of insight offered by the discipline of sociology. Sociological imagination took issue with the ascendant schools of sociology in the United States, calling for humanism and a humanist sociology connecting the social, personal, and historical dimensions of our lives. The sociological imagination is a sociological vision, a way of looking at the world that can see links between the apparently private problems of the individual and important social issues.

Sociological Imagination Abstracts

This article investigates how the theoretical frameworks of Hegel, Marx, and Freud inform Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man, and it highlights the novel's exploration of sociological concepts such as alienation, freedom, and the unconscious. I will consider Ellison's emergence as a writer and explore how the formal and the thematic variations of the novel are informed by the concepts of dialectics, being, and labor (Hegel and Marx), and psychic structure, Eros, and Ananke (Freud). I will conclude by considering how Ellison's project resonates with the tenets of feminism and postmodernism and how literature can be conceptualized for sociological analysis.

Developing a Sociological Imagination: Expanding Ethnography in International English Language Education - ADRIAN HOLLIDAY, Canterbury Christ Church College.
This paper argues that the cultural complexity and variety in English language classrooms across the world also require ethnographies of non-verbal behavior and of curriculum and curriculum project design and management beyond the classroom. A professional sociological imagination needs to be cosmopolitan, broad-based, and wide-ranging in the multiplicity of relations between students, educators, the community, and also the people, material, and concepts which the profession transports across cultures.

A Remarkable Sociological Imagination - Author: Edwards T.
Source: British Journal of Sociology of Education, Volume 23, Number 4, 1 December 2002.
Abstract: Although it takes a roughly chronological approach to the development of his ideas, the paper emphasizes how consistently he explored the making of societies and social classes, and the structuring of social interaction. The title of the paper reflects how successfully Bernstein met Wright Mills' criterion for a true sociological imagination, that it seeks to grasp the extent to which 'personal troubles' are 'public issues' arising from the changing forms of social inequality as these are produced from generation to generation.

Taking the sociological imagination to school: an analysis of the (lack of) impact of information and communication technologies on education systems - Somekh, Bridget.
Source: Technology, Pedagogy and Education, Volume 13, Number 2, July 2004, pp. 
This article suggests that it is time for sociologists to redirect their focus from critiques of policy makers' unrealistic visions for information and communication technologies (ICTs) to the more generic issues that consistently mobilise resistance to ICTs within schools and education systems.

Sociological Imagination Books

College and Society: An Introduction to the Sociological Imagination - by Stephen Sweet.
Examples from a college or university setting to illustrate society in terms of social groups and forces. College and Society is based on the premise that colleges are not “ivory towers” that stand in contrast to the larger society.

The Eclipse of Morality: Science, State, and Market (Sociological Imagination and Structural Change) by Lawrence Busch
We are heirs to three approaches to the problem of order developed in the seventeenth century: science, the state, and the market. Busch uses the works of Bacon, Hobbes, and Adam Smith as Weberian ideal types. Each attempted to describe, to predict, and to prescribe a solution.

Moral Order and Social Disorder: The American Search for Civil Society (Sociological Imagination and Structural Change) Frank Hearn
Drawing upon both classical insights and more recent writings, Hearn provides a compelling account of social breakdown in the United States. Hearn analyzes the defining forces of liberal modernity, in particular, the market economy.

The Sociological Inquiry: Readings Across the Sociological Imagination
by Edward Sanford.

Social Problems and The Sociological Imagination: A Paradigm for Analysis
by David R Simon
Designed for use as a supplementary social problems text at the undergraduate level, this book analyzes social problems using the paradigm of C. Wright Mills' Sociological Imagination. After describing the major problems of American society and grounding the reader in the fundamentals of the sociological imagination, the author centers each chapter around one of the basic concepts of the paradigm (structure, biography and alienation, historical main drift, ideology, and social change). Each chapter contains two exercises, one short, the other long, which teach students how to develop a sociological imagination. While other texts discuss the sociological imagination, no other text applies it systematically.

The Sociological Imagination
by C. Wright Mills.
C. Wright Mills is best remembered for his highly acclaimed work The Sociological Imagination, in which he set forth his views on how social science should be pursued. Hailed upon publication as a cogent and hard-hitting critique, The Sociological Imagination took issue with the ascendant schools of sociology in the United States, calling for a humanist sociology connecting the social, personal, and historical dimensions of our lives. The sociological imagination Mills calls for is a sociological vision.

Minority Voices : Linking Personal Ethnic History and the Sociological Imagination John P. Myers.
In this unique reader, eighteen sociologists write about their own personal experiences, and those of their families, as members of a particular racial or ethnic group in the United States.

Crime, Justice, and Society: Criminology and the Sociological Imagination, with Free PowerWeb
by Ronald Berger, Patricia Searles, Marvin Free.
This is a uniquely sociologically oriented Criminology text designed to help students cultivate their own sociological imagination about crime and criminal justice.

Enriching The Sociological Imagination: How Radical Sociology Changed The Discipline by Rhonda Levine
Since the 1960s, radical sociology has had far more influence on mainstream sociology than many observers imagine.

On Work, Race, and the Sociological Imagination by Everett C. Hughes, Lewis A. Coser (Editor)
A collection of 17 papers by second generation American sociologist Hughes (1897-1983) that speak to work, race and status, and the sociological imagination.

The Power of Place: Bringing Together Geographical and Sociological Imaginations by John A. Agnew, James S. Duncan (Editor).