Mills' Structural Model of Society

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from C. Wright Mills

This was C Wright Mills' simple, but very useful model of society. It reflects a levels of reality approach similar to that expoused by contemporary sociologist George Ritzer. Notice that Mills doesn't simply refer to "individuals"...he uses the more complex notion of "character structure" which includes the physical individual as well as "psychic structure." Spanning the "gap" between the human being and social structure is "role"...those social locations we "play"...which enable us to bridge different institutional realities. The concept of "person" is pertinent here...coming from persona, meaning "wearer of masks." While Mills' notion of "social structure" may be seen in a more complex way today, he still presents the essential institutions, each exhibiting the "Spheres" indicated in the middle. Mills' model is very useful for integrating many micro and macro level concepts in Sociology...clearing linking them (i.e. not keeping their analysis separate).

Mills' Structural Model