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© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

C. Wright Mills: Selected full-text books and articles

The Power Elite By C. Wright Mills Oxford University Press, 2000
White Collar: The American Middle Classes By C. Wright Mills Oxford University Press, 1956
Letters and Autobiographical Writings By C. Wright Mills; Kathryn Mills; Pamela Mills University of California Press, 2000
The Causes of World War Three By C. Wright Mills Simon and Schuster, 1958
Social Theory: The Multicultural and Classic Readings By Charles Lemert Westview Press, 1999 (2nd edition)
Librarian's tip: "The Sociological Imagination" by C. Wright Mills begins on p. 348
A primary source is a work that is being studied, or that provides first-hand or direct evidence on a topic. Common types of primary sources include works of literature, historical documents, original philosophical writings, and religious texts.
Industrial Conflict By 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 By Henry S. Kariel Random House, 1970
Librarian's tip: Chap. 31 "The Social Scientist's Task" by C. Wright Mills
Sociology on Trial By Maurice Stein; Arthur Vidich Prentice-Hall, 1963
Librarian's tip: "The Bureaucratic Ethos" by C. Wright Mills begins on p. 12
Skeptical Sociology By 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 By 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 By 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 By 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 By Henry Etzkowitz; Peter Schwab West Publishing, 1976
Librarian's tip: "Socialist: C. Wright Mills 'Metropolitan 400'" begins on p. 192
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