We have come to know that every individual lives from one generation to the next, in some society; that we live out a biography …within some historical sequence. By the fact of living, the individual contributes however minutely, to the shaping of this society and to the course of its history, even as we are made by society and by its historical push and shove.
The sociological imagination enables us to grasp the connection between history and biography… The first fruit of this imagination--and the first lesson of the social science that embodies it--is the idea that individuals can understand their own experience and gauge their own fate only by becoming aware of those of all individuals in their circumstances. In many ways it is a terrible lesson; in many ways a magnificent one…C. Wright Mills (1959) (Adapted for gender inclusive language)