"The sociological imagination
enables us to grasp history and biography and the relations between the
two within society. That is its task and its promise. To recognize
this task and this promise is the mark of the classic social analyst.
It is characteristic of Herbert Spencer--turgid, polysyllabic, comprehensive;
of E. A. Ross--graceful, muckraking, upright; of Auguste Comte and Emile
Durkheim; of the intricate and subtle Karl Mannheim. It is the quality
of all the is intellectually excellent in Karl Marx; it is the clue to
Thorstein Veblen's brilliant and ironic insight . . . no less than of the
profundity and clarity of Max Weber" (The
Sociological Imagination, 1959, p. 6).