Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Death of Cool

When Sociology Was Cool:

[C. Wright] Mills staked his theories right in these complications and contradictions and with this effort challenged sociologists to not so much relax the methodological rules of their discipline, but to allow themselves a little poetic license. And as simple as this idea may seem, it was, for many sociologists, a revelation and a push to make sociology matter. That, to my mind, is one of the few moments in the history of sociology when the discipline was made “cool.” That moment when C. Wright Mills told us that our analyses of the world should matter. That and the moment someone took a picture of him driving his motorcycle to class.

*Cool is a state of being, which describes the way a person represents themselves to the world. To be cool is

  1. to be present in the day and to notice what’s happening around you;
  2. to search for and recognize beauty;
  3. to express this beauty in words and images and especially sounds;
  4. to be kind, open, generous and understanding to yourself, as well as the people you encounter, even those who may not be kind, open, generous and understanding towards you;
  5. to not only exhibit grace under pressure in moments of extreme hardship or duress, but to figure out ways to survive and in some instances, even thrive in moments of extreme hardship or duress.
  6. Cool is also a way to describe people, places and things that are “of the moment,” “hip,” and notably stylish. Just like that famous photograph of C. Wright Mills was on his motorcycle taken in the late 1950s.

Great post, great blog. Check it out. I would hope the ghost of C. Wright Mills haunts this place, beyond the obvious title.

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