Important People of Sociology Review Guide

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12 Dec 2010
Important people
C. Wright Mills:
- The Sociological Imagination
- 3 broad categories of questions focusing on the structure of society, the patterns of social
change, and the characteristics of people who contribute to society
-People often feel as if they are in a series of traps in their personal lives. They feel that
they cannot overcome their personal problems (and people are usually right about this
-Individuals do not generally control forces that affect their lives.
-Social Imagination: the capacity to understand the relationship between elements of
society and their impact on individuals life chances
Talcott Parsons:
-Parsons was concerned with the problem of social order, "how, if individuals were really
separate entities pursuing their self-interest, there could be any order at all: How could
there be anything but disorder?". In practice, people do cooperate, and there is a degree of
social integration. For Parsons this comes from the values of society and of social actors
the basis of social action can be termed voluntarism. "People act on the basis of their values;
their actions are oriented and constrained by the values and norms of people around them;
and these norms and values are the basis of social order".
-created structural functionalism
Karl Marx:
-founder of of political economy theory
-Das Kapital : a critique of capitalism.
-inspired by the suffering of factory workers and their families
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