Sociological Imagination

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Sociological Imagination

Every human being fills a certain niche. Since all humans exist in a certain state of sociological and economic condition, people have their own roles and connections to society. C. Wright Mills states that “people sense that within their everyday worlds…are bounded by the private orbits in which they live…job, family, neighborhood.” One can infer that Mills is referring to the socioeconomic conditions that bind people to society’s underlying structures, which are, in this case, jobs, family, neighborhood, etc. Consequently, by searching through a person’s history and observing their fundamental socioeconomic conditions, glimpsing their future may be possible. So with this information at our side, what can one say about oneself? The obvious pillars in society that envelope me are school and family. School is a mini-society by itself. It has social classes, structure, currency (grades), leaders, and followers. School, for the typical teenage male, is both the physical and social location in which they spend the most time and effort. This is caused by their many interactions between their friends and teachers (but mostly their friends) and by the fact that they spend around 6-8 hour in school, which comprises a large portion of their 14-hour day. School is further characterized by smaller groups (general groups such as age/grade), which are divided into even smaller congregations, often called cliques. In every major school, there are the athletes, nerds, drama members, etc. These groups are characterized by their socioeconomic position. School essential components include grades, extracurricular activities, social class, etc., which are individual characteristics that contribute to a larger sociological viewpoint of a clique. Cliques can overlap depending on the same sociological locations as well; I could fit the athlete clique as well as the geek clique. So what are the meanings and functions of the particular features and structures within the school environment? Grades provided distinct separation between intellectual minds and nonintellectual minds. The mentality of getting good grades versus being lazy is a huge separation in school and in society as a whole. It is impossible for a school to have “school unity” due to the presence of grades, which, in effect, are judging the academic profile of the student. Mills writes “the distinction with which the sociological imagination works is between ‘the personal troubles of milieu’ and the ‘public issues of social structure.’” Grades are a “personal trouble of the milieu” as they affect personal issues, such as family, self-esteem, college application, etc. Nonetheless, when grades start grouping people together, it can become a “public issue of social structure.” Although positive groups may form, such as a study group which push its members faster and farther than without (such as certain studious people at SST), they can also form negative crowds. For example, gangs start forming from nefarious groups during their middle and high school years. Oftentimes, this begins with poor grades, struggles in school, family difficulties, and self-esteem problems. All of these are personal troubles but when they form a small society that wreaks havoc upon larger societies, it becomes a public issue. They become a destructive force within society, bringing potential for the collapse of essential social pillars. Similarly, racism starts with personal differences, such as skin color, athleticism, manners of speaking, which are all individual features within the school environment, but then evolve into an international problem with whole populations being discriminated against. This has occurred throughout history; in America, first it was the African Americans, then the Chinese, followed by the Muslim nations, and finally Mexicans. Modern racism now includes many varieties of Asians, especially recent immigrants who are having a lot of success....
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