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Lecture

2S06 Lecture 26.docx
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Department
Sociology
Course
SOCIOL 2S06
Professor
David Young
Semester
Winter

Description
Fox 1 Lecture 26 SOCIOL 2S06 Thursday January 16, 2014 The Theoretical Ideas of C. Wright Mills B) The Changing Class Structure: • Mills documented changes in the class structure in the U.S at the time he was writing • Showed how it had begun to change in the 1940s after WW2 • The changing class structure: Mills recognized the working class of “blue collar” workers (factory workers, etc) that Marx focused on • Mills also recognized the “old middle class” (which Marx called the petty bourgeoisie)/this class was made up of farmers, business people, and independent professionals (such as family doctors), etc • Mills recognized and documented the growth of what he called the “new middle class” of “whiter collar” workers - this class was made up of managers, salaried professionals, sales people, office workers, etc… • His book White Collar=why this change was occurring (new middle class emerging) talks about 2 reason for the growth of the new middle class • 1st reason for growth of new middle class: Changes in the American economy after the second world war • 2nd reason: expansion of government and corporate bureaucracy • Weber was interested in the growth of bureaucracy C) Transformation from a Public to a Mass: • According to Mills, he refers to the transformation of the Publics of America into a mass society 1) A Public: • A group i. Virtually as many people express opinions as receive them ii. Communication is so organized that there is a chance immediately and effectively to reply to opinions (through a town hall or community) iii. Opinions formed readily find an outlet in effective action, even against (if necessary) the prevailing system of authority (because people are mobilized as community groups) Fox 2 Lecture 26 2) A Mass: • A number of individuals i. Far fewer people express opinions than receive them (because publics become individuals who receive opinions through the mass media) ii. Communication is organized that it is difficult or impossible to reply to opinions (through the mass media) iii. Opinions formed DO NOT readily find an outlet in effective action (because people are mostly isolated individuals and not mobilized collectively) D) The Existence of Mass Society: • Mills argues that this transformation from the public to a mass is called =mass society • The various publics made up of people who express political opinions and meet to engage in political action have mostly been replaced by a mass made up of people who may receive political opinions through the media but are generally politically disengaged • The concept of a mass society suggests that individuals in society are passive, especially because they are unaware of political issues and lack interest in political action • It was Mills’ view that the US had become a mass society when he was writing in the 1950s • Can be argued that the US and Canada are still mass societies: because people aren’t interested in politics/voting • We still have publics: members of social movements meet face to face, strategize and do social action E) The Power Elite: • Title of one of Mills’ books • The power elite rules over the mass society in US in the 1950s • Mills saw t
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