The Invisible Man Revisited—Sociologically

Ever wonder how sociologists might examine literary texts? An article by Dr. Randal Doane, “Ralph Ellison’s Sociological Imagination,” published in 2004, re-examines Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man and his engagement with theoretical frameworks from Marx, Hegel, and Freud. Specifically, Doane interrogates Ellison’s use of concepts such as dialectics, being, and labor (Marx and Hegel), and psychic structure, Eros, and Ananke (Freud).

While literary scholars have been delving into Ellison’s acclaimed novel and unearthing critical arguments posed by the author since its publication, this particular analysis comes by way of sociology, a rare but interesting cross-disciplinary endeavor. For fans or critics of Invisible Man, this article is a thought-provoking sociological analysis of Ellison’s book. The article can be retrieved through the DePaul Library here:

Doane, Randal. “Ralph Ellison’s Sociological Imagination.”The Sociological Quarterly 45.1 (2004): 161-84.


Author: Julian Thompson

Julian Thompson is a research assistant at the Social Science Research Center at DePaul University. He is completing his MA in Sociology and is expecting to begin doctoral studies in the fall of 2012. Broadly speaking, his interests revolve around issues of identity, culture, power, legal practices and discourses, and inequality. His specific research domains are prisons, punishment, ex-offender reentry, street life, mental illness, and immigration detention and deportation. However, he is particularly interested in studying the racialized experiences of imprisonment and re-entry and the way these impact the racial understandings that offenders of color inculcate and use when making sense of their lives and criminal engagements.

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