The Sociological Imagination – a few thoughts

After reading The Sociological Imagination (Mills 1959) again, while feeling frustrated that recent debates on state education have excluded those who education matters to most – parents and students, I think the tour de force of sociology should be to encourage public debate about issues that matter to everyday people in an engaging manner to help them make sense of their lives in a complex world. I am pretty much captivated by Mills’ idea of a sociological imagination that allows individuals to discover relationships between biography and history, personal troubles and public issues. Answers to global issues, which threaten the existence of civilisation are likely to be found in history (history repeats itself is self-evident) and, in what Carl Sagan referred to in The Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence (1977), as the ‘extra evolutionary potential’ of the human brain. At some point in the not too distant future I would like to set out an outline of how the work of Mills might help to develop a renewed vision of emancipatory pedagogy across educational hinterlands: equality of opportunity between students, equality between students, parents and teachers for liberation through learning. Collaboration will be the guiding principle with democracy at the heart. For a more reasonable hour……