About Sociology


In his work, The Sociological Imagination (1959), C. Wright Mills wrote, "Neither the life of an individual nor the history of a society can be understood without understanding both."

In other words, Mills claimed that the discipline of sociology is the study of the connection between individuals and society, between personal troubles and public issues. Understanding both the life of an individual, and the history and structure of a society, requires the sociological imagination.

Sociologists, according to Mills, were in the unique position among social scientists of cultivating a sociological imagination that could grasp that individuals' actions, behaviors, histories, and seemingly "personal" troubles could only be understood as effects of social organization: as public issues. Mills' hope was that through understanding the actual dynamics that shape our lives - individually and collectively - we would also develop the tools and strategies to effect positive social change.

Sociology at Whittier embraces this Millsian tradition and we believe that sociology, at its best, is not merely an academic pursuit, but rather a daily practice, a "thing lived": a hopeful act of discovery and transformation.

With greater Los Angeles as our muse, we invite you to re-envision your social world, and to act in and upon it.