Social Imagination Essay

How would you explain ‘the sociological Imagination”? In this paper I am going to try and explain what is meant when we hear the term Sociological Imagination and what it means. In this essay I will draw on the founder of the term Sociological Imagination C W Mills who wrote ‘The Sociological Imagination and the Promise of Sociology and who developed Sociological Imagination. C W Mills defines Sociological Imagination as the following “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. ” “What they need, and what they feel they need, is a quality of mind that will help them to use information and to develop reason in order to achieve lucid summations of what is going on in the world and of what may be happening within themselves. ” Sociological Imagination allows the individual to look at the bigger picture and look at the problems in society as if they were an outsider.

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Problems that may seem small to an individual and only relevant to the individual Sociological Imagination allows the individual to look at the issues at a larger scale. Sociological Imagination provides people with the skills and knowledge to be able to engage in political issues that they may not have thought about doing before hand. As mentioned in the reading “The Sociological Imagination and the Promise of Sociology” Mills refers to divorce as a personal trouble although is also a public issue in today’s society.

Sociological Imagination allows us to look at the wider context. Sociological Imagination is the capacity to discern the relationship between large scale social forces and the actions of individuals. Mills believed that individuals need to have an understanding of their history of their society to understand how they fit into society today and by doing this they then understand their moral values. If an individual understands this they are then empowered to participate in society politically and engage in political issues.

As we have seen in the reading there is a distinction with the Sociological Imagination that it works between ‘the personal troubles of milieu’ and ‘the public issues of social structure’. Without the individual being able to use sociological imagination they are unable understand the troubles of the social environment and the social structure. In the readings we saw the example given regarding unemployment. When one man is unemployed in a city of 100,000 we would probably look at the man personally and his character and skills.

When you have a city of 50 million and 15 million unemployed where the ratio to employed versus unemployed is a lot higher we look at the structure and how this is failing. We need to us Sociological Imagination to do this. Reference 1. C Wright Mills, (1959), The Sociological Imagination, ‘The Promise’, Chapter 1. 2. Blatterer, Dr. H, 2010, Module 1 Lectures SGY110 SP2, Macquarie University, Via Open Universities Australia. (http://learn. mq. edu. au/web/cobaltMainFrame. dowebct) accessed 19/6/10


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