Edited by John Scott and Ann Nilsen
What C. Wright Mills can teach us today
Years before the so called ‘anti-positivist’ turn of the late 1960s, I struggled with the problems of getting my seniors to accept my ‘mixing of social science with politics’. Doing fieldwork in North Norwegian fishing communities, I found it very difficult to analyse and explain problems like depopulation without treating politically settled conditions on the same level as other variable factors, like natural conditions or fish prices on the global markets. How would specific changes in the rules of the game affect the future of coastal communities? I found support in The Sociological Imagination, especially through discussions with the historian Kåre Lunden, who told me that my ‘mix’ of social science and politics was no sin, but rather an attempt to follow Wright Mills’s advice: personal troubles must be understood in terms of public issues! As my North Norway project developed, methodically inspired by economic anthropology, as it was taught and practised at the University of Bergen, I became increasingly convinced that I was engaged in a political project, as well as a social-scientific one. The aspiring social scientist became – whether he wanted it or not – a participant in the drama that took place on the northern coast. And so did the government economists arguing for radical changes in the fishing industry – against the interests of the great majority of coastal fishermen. The North Norway Plan – NNP – was launched in 1952, to increase the productivity and general level of living of the Arctic population, and the aim of my project was to somehow measure the effect of the Plan.
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.
Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.
Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.