"The sociological imagination,
I remind you, in considerable part consists of the capacity to shift from
one perspective to another, and in the process to build up an adequate
view of a total society and of its components. It is this imagination,
of course, that sets off the social scientist from the mere technician.
Adequate technicians can be trained in a few years. The sociological imagination
can also be cultivated; certainly it seldom occurs without a great deal
of often routine work. Yet there is an unexpected quality about it, perhaps
because its essence is the combination of ideas that no one expected were
combinable--say, a mess of ideas from German philosophy and British economics.
There is a playfulness of mind back of such combining as well as a truly
fierce drive to make sense of the world, which the technician as such usually
lacks" (The Sociological Imagination, 1959,