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A Passion for SocietyHow We Think about Human Suffering$
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Iain Wilkinson and Arthur Kleinman

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780520287228

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520287228.001.0001

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A Broken Recovery

A Broken Recovery

Chapter:
(p.80) 3 A Broken Recovery
Source:
A Passion for Society
Author(s):

Iain Wilkinson

Arthur Kleinman

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520287228.003.0004

This chapter surveys contemporary developments in research and writing on social suffering via a critical dialogue with C. Wright Mills’s account of the “sociological imagination.” Mills’s sociological imagination is explored with reference to his concern to redevelop sociology as a form of critical pragmatism. We take steps to explain how our project might be compared to that initiated by Mills, but we emphasize that we are not so much concerned with critique as an end in itself but rather with the development of a form of social inquiry that operates for the promotion of caregiving. In this regard, we explain our own indebtedness to classical traditions of pragmatism (especially the works of William James, John Dewey, and Jane Addams). We offer a critical review of how social suffering is now being featured as an issue for inquiry and debate in contemporary sociology and anthropology.

Keywords:   C. Wright Mills, pragmatism, social suffering, Pierre Bourdieu, medical anthropology, social theory, social care

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