Entrapment Theory

Topics: Sociology, C. Wright Mills, Sociological imagination Pages: 2 (466 words) Published: April 20, 2008
Do you think that people still feel trapped, in the ways that Mills described, in the early twenty-first century? This essay explains the 1959 sociologists, C Wright Mills Theory of Entrapment and its relevance in the 21st century. Mills theory illustrates that for a society to progress, it must possess a sociological imagination, which allows society to understand the impact of the prevailing social forces on both the private and public lives of its individuals. Depending on the number of people involved, a matter can be considered either a trouble or an issue. Mills (1959) defines entrapment as being restricted by influences such as age, sex, geography, economics, family status and income. Some of these matters are beyond an individual’s control. They may find themselves in a situation where they do not have the power to alter these limiting factors, which results in them feeling “trapped”. This feeling has not changed, but what has changed over time are the issues and troubles that cause this feeling. Mills theory details the importance of sociological imagination; this is the ability to understand the big picture in terms of meaning for the individual. He makes a distinction between public issues and private troubles, which helps explain how people can relate and make connections and meaning to local, national and international issues that provide meaning for the individual. According to Mills (1959) issues are related to the whole of society and cannot be resolved by the skills and actions of an individual, due to the vastness and extent that the issue is spread across a society. Mills (1959) defines an issue as a public matter. For example, the upward pressure on interest rates is a current public issue. People across different environments, ages and economic status are all affected by each rise. Each increase puts more limitations on those concerned, resulting in them feeling they are trapped. Troubles are considered private and can be...
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