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C. Wright Mills

  • American sociologist
  • Born May 28, 1916
  • Died March 20, 1962

Charles Wright Mills (August 28, 1916 – March 20, 1962) was an American sociologist, and a professor of sociology at Columbia University from 1946 until his death in 1962. Mills was published widely in popular and intellectual journals. He is remembered for several books, such as The Power Elite, which introduced that term and describes the relationships and class alliances among the US political, military, and economic elites; White Collar: The American Middle Classes, on the American middle class; and The Sociological Imagination, which presents a model of analysis for the interdependence of subjective experiences within a person's biography, the general social structure, and historical development.


Prestige is the shadow of money and power.




What ordinary men are directly aware of and what they try to do are bounded by the private orbits in which they live; their visions and their powers are limited.




Every revolution has its counterrevolution - that is a sign the revolution is for real.




The principal cause of war is war itself.




The nearest the modern general or admiral comes to a small-arms encounter of any sort is at a duck hunt in the company of corporation executives at the retreat of Continental Motors, Inc.




America is a nation with no truly national city, no Paris, no Rome, no London, no city which is at once the social center, the political capital, and the financial hub.




Not wishing to be disturbed over moral issues of the political economy, Americans cling to the notion that the government is a sort of automatic machine, regulated by the balancing of competing interests.




Power is not of a man. Wealth does not center in the person of the wealthy. Celebrity is not inherent in any personality. To be celebrated, to be wealthy, to have power requires access to major institutions.




Neither the life of an individual nor the history of a society can be understood without understanding both.




People with advantages are loath to believe that they just happen to be people with advantages.




In the world of the celebrity, the hierarchy of publicity has replaced the hierarchy of descent and even of great wealth.



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