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Abstract and Keywords

This chapter reviews C. Wright Mills’s analysis of power and the elites of his era in his three major texts of the 1940s and 1950s. It considers elements of his project that often attract less comment: Mills’s search for possible ways of redistributing power and enhancing democracy: his attempt to forge an ethico-political stance in rapidly changing conditions. We reveal Mills’s various intellectual debts, suggesting that he refused a relation of mere imitation to those from whom he borrowed. Considering a variety of criticism of Mills, we reflect on what we might take from Mills today in our own time.

Keywords: C. Wright Mills, power, elites, democracy, ethics

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