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Taking It BigC. Wright Mills and the Making of Political Intellectuals$
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Stanley Aronowitz

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231135412

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231135412.001.0001

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Mills’s Sociology and Pragmatism

Mills’s Sociology and Pragmatism

(p.28) 1 Mills’s Sociology and Pragmatism
Taking It Big

Stanley Aronowitz

Columbia University Press

This chapter first looks into Mills' relationship with pragmatism. It begins with a discussion of his first published essays on language and culture, which were written while he was still a graduate student. These essays on the sociology of knowledge not only demonstrate the influence of pragmatism on his thinking but also his precocious audacity, which consists chiefly in his ambition to take on existing systematic knowledge of the social world, and both the theoretical underpinnings and the methodologies of the social sciences. The chapter then turn to Mills' first sustained intellectual work, his dissertation, A Sociological Account of Pragmatism, which was published in 1966 under the title Sociology and Pragmatism. What Mills achieves here is not only an examination of pragmatism from the perspective of a sociology of knowledge by showing the degree to which the institutions of “higher learning in America” influenced it as a philosophy but also an interrogation of the separation of sociology from philosophy.

Keywords:   sociology of knowledge, pragmatism, language, culture, dissertation, social philosophy

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