Topics: Sociology, Functionalism, Consciousness Pages: 2 (315 words) Published: September 16, 2014
What is the sociological imagination? Give an example of how the sociological imagination can be used today. Sociological imagination is a term coined by Mills that describes the ability for one to look at the “daily life” from an entirely new perspective and to “think oneself away from the familiar routines of everyday life.” Sociological imagination is taking what you know about people and making assumptions about the larger theories to give a description of what might be happening in any situation.  A modern day example would be the tension of “the role of women.” In the past, women were to stay home and be the “house maker.” Women were to cook, clean, look after children and everything in between; however, modern day women now feel torn from their past “duties” from their futures at work. What is functionalism? How has Robert Merton contributed to this theory? Functionalism interprets each part of society in terms of how it contributes to the stability of the whole society. Society is more than the sum of its parts; rather, each part of society is functional for stability of the whole. The different parts of society overall are the institutions of society, each of which is organized to fill different needs and each of which has particular consequences for the form and shape of society. Each part depends on each other.           Robert Merton advanced the ideas of manifest and latent function. A manifest function is what people understand the purpose of a custom or practice to be and a latent function is an outcome that is likely not well understood or consciously identified by people. Merton emphasizes one doesn’t need to worry about which one is “real” or more important; all in all, the point is that social practices have multiple outcomes/purposes/function, and some people may not be aware of this. The sum greater than the whole.
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