Chicago Vice and Virtue: The Poetic Imagination Meets the Sociological Imagination
For more than 100 years, the Chicago School of Sociology has represented an approach to sociology that has always allowed creative, innovative and communicative aspects to take centre stage. This chapter demonstrates how the poetic imagination stemming from the Chicago School's reliance on literature and journalism for inspiration can be traced across several generations of Chicago sociologists, and how the intersecting circles of sociology, journalism and literature have resulted in the unique way in which Chicago sociology is practiced and communicated, which justifies its lasting impact on and relevance to contemporary sociology. The essence of the sociological imagination is free association, guided but not hampered by a frame of reference internalized not quite into the unconscious. The chapter introduces a number of examples from the historic development of the Chicago School, its leading characters, and the special way of thinking, understanding, practicing and communicating sociology that has come to be associated with the Chicago School of sociology.