Unit 1 - Introduction Sociology

Essay by toyaplayUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, June 2005

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According to Sociologist, C. Wright Mills, people often believe that their private lives can only be explained in terms of their personal successes and failures. They fail to see the links between their own individual lives and the society around them. The process of interpreting your individual life in the context of your community or the society in which you live is called "Sociological Imagination." Use your Sociological Imagination to discuss how to separate the links between individual experiences and the social impact of one of the following issues:

1. Being unemployed and the impact of unemployment as a broad issue.

2. Being an alcoholic or drug addict and the broader impact of alcoholism/drug addiction on society.

3. Being an unmarried pregnant teenager and the impact that unmarried teen pregnancy has on society.

4. Living in poverty and the broader issue of poverty in society.

As used by C.W. Mills, Sociological Imagination refers to the ability to imagine and understand the intersection between personal biography and historical social structures.

This is indeed the essence of sociology: imagining that every individual's life is given meaning, form and significance within historically specific cultures and ways of organizing social life. Having a sociological imagination then is identical with being a good sociologist: it is a standard against which to judge sociology. Larger social, political, and economic currents with in which we live make up the patterns of our own lives and how "our story," relates to the course of world history.

Mills also feels that the sociological imagination works to distinguish between the "personal troubles of individual surroundings" and the "public issues of social structure." He feels that the distinguishment of these two is an "essential tool" of the sociological imagination and is also very important in social science.