C. Wright Mills

C. Wright Mills, 1916–62, American sociologist, b. Waco, Tex. He studied at the Univ. of Texas (A.B., M.A., 1939) and the Univ. of Wisconsin (Ph.D., 1942) and spent his academic career (1946–62) as a professor at Columbia Univ. A controversial figure, Mills advocated a comparative world sociology and criticized intellectuals for not using their freedom responsibly by working for social change. He was an advocate of an economic determinism heavily influenced by Karl Marx and Max Weber. His best-known book is The Power Elite (1956), in which he explained the power structure of postwar American society in terms of a ruling militarized corporate-capitalist oligarchy. Mills's other books include White Collar (1951), in which he discussed the propertyless middle-class workers who provided a vast staff for the ruling elite, The Sociological Imagination (1959), Listen, Yankee (1960), and The Marxists (1962).

See biography by I. L. Horowitz (1983); K. Mills and P. Mills, eds., C. Wright Mills: Letters and Autobiographical Writings (2000).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

The Power Elite
C. Wright Mills.
Oxford University Press, 2000
White Collar: The American Middle Classes
C. Wright Mills.
Oxford University Press, 1956
Letters and Autobiographical Writings
Kathryn Mills; Pamela Mills; C. Wright Mills.
University of California Press, 2000
The Causes of World War Three
C. Wright Mills.
Simon and Schuster, 1958
Social Theory: The Multicultural and Classic Readings
Charles Lemert.
Westview Press, 1999 (2nd edition)
Librarian’s tip: "The Sociological Imagination" by C. Wright Mills begins on p. 348
Industrial Conflict
Arthur Kornhauser; Robert Dubin; Arthur M. Ross.
McGraw-Hill, 1954
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 10 "The Labor Leaders and the Power Elite" by C. Wright Mills
Frontiers of Democratic Theory
Henry S. Kariel.
Random House, 1970
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 31 "The Social Scientist's Task" by C. Wright Mills
Sociology on Trial
Maurice Stein; Arthur Vidich.
Prentice-Hall, 1963
Librarian’s tip: "The Bureaucratic Ethos" by C. Wright Mills begins on p. 12
Skeptical Sociology
Dennis H. Wrong.
Columbia University Press, 1976
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 1 "C. Wright Mills and the Sociological Imagination"
Origins of Mass Communications Research during the American Cold War: Educational Effects and Contemporary Implications
Timothy Glander.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2000
Librarian’s tip: "C. Wright Mills, the Mass Society, and the Rise of Psychological Illiteracy" begins on p. 186
Stalking the Sociological Imagination: J. Edgar Hoover's FBI Surveillance of American Sociology
Mike Forrest Keen.
Greenwood Press, 1999
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 11 "Our Man in Havana: C. Wright Mills Talks, Yankee Listens"
Where the Boys Are: Cuba, Cold War America and the Making of a New Left
Van Gosse.
Verso, 1993
Librarian’s tip: "'I'll Show You How to Use Those Pistols': The Journey of C. Wright Mills" begins on p. 176
Is America Necessary? Conservative, Liberal, & Socialist Perspectives of United States Political Institutions
Henry Etzkowitz; Peter Schwab.
West Publishing, 1976
Librarian’s tip: "Socialist: C. Wright Mills 'Metropolitan 400'" begins on p. 192
The Last Intellectuals: American Culture in the Age of Academe
Russell Jacoby.
Basic Books, 2000
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of C. Wright Mills begins on p. 78
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