He told me about attending a party of Columbia graduate students in sociology, and his account of it seemed to sum up the impasse he had reached with the academic side of his profession. ‘I simply sat in a chair in a corner,’ he said, ‘and one by one these guys would come up to me, sort of like approaching the pariah – curiosity stuff. They were guys working on their Ph.D.’s, you see, and after they’d introduced themselves I’d ask, “What are you working on?” It would always be something like “The Impact of Work-Play Relationships among Lower Income Families on the South Side of the Block on 112th Street between Amsterdam and Broadway.” And then I would ask –’ Mills paused, leaned forward, and his voice boomed, ‘Why?’

Dan Wakefield on C. Wright Mills

Related post: Do It Big.


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