Exercising Your Mind

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In C.W Mills’ article, “The Promise”, the main idea that I believe Mills wanted to address is that we should all use our sociological imaginations to see problems that we are facing as individuals which can be connected to the social/economic problems within the entire society. “Sociological imagination enables us to grasp history and biography and the relations between the two within society” (Mills 1959, 3). What this basically means is that people look at their own personal problems as social issues and try to connect their own individual experiences with the workings of society. It allows people to distinguish between personal troubles and public issues. Throughout Mill’s whole article, if we were to take account of our troubles and public issues, then everyone in society can solve more problems efficiently and effectively.

First of all, what Mills means by people being trapped is the fact that freedom was an illusion to us. Basically, none of us are free because of the social roles into which we are socialized. C.W Mill’s states that “The society’s visions and their powers are limited to close-up scenes of job, family, neighborhood; in other milieu they move vicariously and remain spectators” (Mills 1959, 1). This quote is the reason why people are considered trapped and how people can’t overcome their troubles. The reason is that people only see the small picture. People are so accustomed to their family, their neighbors, jobs, etc. that people don’t are blinded or in this case, “trapped”, from seeing the big picture. Because of this, people don’t believe that they don’t have the power to alter these factors that are trapping them which is exactly why he would bring up sociological imagination.

In relation to Mill’s ideas about sociological imagination, Stephanie Coontz’s article, “How History and Sociology Can Help Today’s Families”, talks about family issues that we face today. One of the ideas that I found interesting from this article...
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