Sociological Imagination

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To define ‘sociological imagination’ the term ‘sociology’ must be defined first as the systematic study of human society which encompasses and is the key component of the concept of sociological imagination. One of the fundamental contributors to the concept of sociology is C. Wright Mills (1916-1962) who at the time had a controversial and unique approach to sociology. He considered aspects of both micro (small scale activities of everyday life) and macro (looking at society as a whole) approaches as influences to the study of society. Willis argued that sociology requires a particular type of imagination, sociological imagination; that sociology cannot be based purely on individual experiences, but by linking one’s individual and private experiences with a broader spectrum approach, one can better understand the systematic process of society as a whole Willis (1970) . For example, if one’s partner was an alcoholic, this experience would be a very private problem. If twenty percent of the society were alcoholics, and as a result the subculture of declining health in the population was a secondary effect of this problem, then this becomes a public issue. Jureidini and Poole (2003) explain that sociologists study the broad structural factors, the processes and practices that influence everyday lives and vice versa. Mills (1970) describes the components of sociological imagination as the interconnected influences that connect lives (biographies) and history within society’s structure. To consider the sociological imagination, one must first consider the aspects of biography, history, and structure and the complex relationship of all three within society. The sociological imagination enables individuals to understand why there are specific attitudes, behaviours and beliefs. It provides sound ideas and theoretical tools to analyse critically what is seen and read every day, to confidently evaluate social issues, and to link them to every day lives and...
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