Sociological Perspectives

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The term sociological imagination was coined by the American sociologist C. Wright Mills in 1959 to describe the type of insight offered by the discipline of sociology. The sociological imagination is the ability to see things socially and how they interact and influence each other. To have a sociological imagination, you must be able to pull yourself away from the situation and think from an alternative point of view. It requires us to "think ourselves away from our daily routines and look at them anew". To acquire knowledge, it is important to not follow a routine, you have to break free from the immediacy of personal circumstances and put things into a wider context. The actions of people are much more important than the act itself. The sociological imagination “is the capacity to shift from one perspective to another—from the political to the psychological; from examination of a single family to comparative assessment of the national budgets of the world; from the theological school to the military establishment; from considerations of an oil industry to studies of contemporary poetry.” (Mills, 2000) To think sociologically is to realize that what we experience as personal problems are often widely shared by others like ourselves. The benefit of thinking sociologically according to Mills is that it allows people to gain empathy to others. It is easier to understand other people when you are going through a similar situation. In other words, this method allows people to “walk a mile in someone else’s shoes” and truly understand society.

Berger is perhaps best known for his view that social reality is a form of consciousness. Central to Berger's work is the relationship between society and the individual. His analysis of society as subjective reality describes the process by which an individual's conception of reality is produced by his or her interaction with social structures. Sociologist Peter Berger refers to the fact that sociologists see general social...
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