In His Account of the Sociological Imagination, C. Wright Mills (1959) Distinguishes Between ‘Private Troubles’ and ‘Public Issues’. Discuss in Relation to Domestic Violence.

Topics: Sociology, Feminism, Domestic violence Pages: 3 (750 words) Published: August 25, 2010
Domestic violence (at a glance) is considered to be a private matter; it is something that occurs between couples in the privacy of their homes and affects the individuals involved personally (Knoblock, 2008). But if we look closer, domestic violence is largely driven by social forces and structures (Furze, Savy, Brym, Lie, 2008). Ideologies and social norms about men and women such as patriarchy and gender inequalities contribute greatly to the occurrence of domestic violence in society. Hence C. Wright Mills’s concept of the sociological imagination, “the quality of mind to see what is going on in the world and what may be happening within themselves,” (1959, as cited by Furze et al, 2008, p8) can be applied to domestic violence for it can be distinguished as both a private trouble and a public social issue.

The nature in which domestic violence occurs leads to the idea that it is simply a private trouble. The people involved often blame and justify the occurrence of domestic violence on individual factors affecting the couple’s relationship (Knoblock, 2008). It is viewed by the couple as an issue between themselves because it is their own personal relationship; it affects them only and the way their relationship functions are for them to decide. The experience of violence by the victim is also very personal and very troubling as it damages their whole sense of being and self-worth (Knoblock, 2008). Furthermore, it happens in the private domain of a home, which makes people think that “what goes on in the home is behind closed doors and not talked about with outsiders” (Knoblock, 2008, p96). These factors therefore illustrate how domestic violence is a private matter.

However, there is evidence to suggest that domestic violence is influenced by social factors such as patriarchal structures and gender inequalities. People still tend to hold patriarchal views for families in society today (Abraham, 1995). This means they agree with the idea that males have...
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