The previous chapter showed how social theory’s preoccupation with macro social change lends itself to analysis of major institutions such as the state. In this chapter, we shift our focus to the nature of the political Self and political identity. Macro social theory can seem far removed from individual subjectivity and its political possibilities. Despite this, it has had a great deal to say about the fate of the individual in modern societies. This is the part of the sociological imagination that C. Wright Mills (1959: 14) identified as being concerned with ‘the personal troubles of milieu’, in addition to ‘the public issues of social structure’. Indeed, in recent decades questions of individual identity have become central to the discipline.
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