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C. Wright Mills - Essay Example

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Mills is known for his masterpieces like "The New Men of Power: America's Labor Leaders" (1948) which is basically a study of the Labour Metaphysics and how labour leaders have cooperated with the business officials to the disadvantage of the worker,while the workforce stays happy with mere "bread and butter" and has assumed a rather subordinate to role to such leaders.
Another one of his classics is the book White Collar: The American Middle Classes (1951) which continues his stance against the officials and the bureaucracy who he accuses of suppressing the common individual by the tactic of overworking him and charging him a large amount of taxes. The immense work pressure on the worker causes him to suffer from alienation and imposes upon him a robot like existence in return for financial remuneration.
His other important works include The Sociological Imagination (1959) in which he has tried to demonstrate a link between history biography and sociology. Other works include The Causes of World War Three (1958), Listen, Yankee: The Revolution in Cuba (1960), and The Marxists (1962).
Academics have argued over whether Mills was a Marxist or a follower of liberalism. He felt more comfortable as a humanist Marxist than being called a follower of Max Weber. Mills was in agreement with other Marxist sociologists that the American suffers from the great divide between the weak and the powerful. The weak are suppressed and they feel alienated. He has made some interesting observations in his works like the one below;
When, in a city of 100,000, only one man is unemployed, that is his personal trouble, and for its relief we properly look to the character of the man, his skills, and his immediate opportunities. But when in a nation of 50 million employees, 15 million men are unemployed, that is an issue, and we may not hope to find its solution within the range of opportunities open to any one individual. ( The Sociological Imagination 1959).

The Power Elite
Coming to one of his most prominent works, in 1956 he wrote the book The Power Elite (1956) in which he has analysed the US structure of power in its three forms i.e. the political, military, and economic elite whom he accuses of sharing similar views which are aimed at suppressing the working classes. The book was tremendously influential when it came out and even today it is a source of inspiration in socio-political academics. He has focused on the power structure of the US politics and military in the post World War II era.

The Power Elite reflects a kind of trilogy of the US society and it was a follow up to his other books like The New Men of Power (1948) and White Collar (1951).Like all masterpieces it attracted much negative academic and political controversy at the time of its publication. Mills brazenly accused the elitists as "the warlords," "the higher immorality," "the power elite," "crackpot realism," and "organized irresponsibility,". The book was so well researched that it had 47 pages of Notes and was a full scale study of the structure and distribution of power in the United States. It was ...Show more


Renowned American Sociologist Charles Wright Mills was born on August 28, 1916 at Waco, Texas. He was a graduate from the University of Texas and had a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin. He remained a member of the faculty position at Columbia University in 1946 until his death in 1962…
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C. Wright Mills
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