SOC101: Introduction to Sociology
Instructor: Jungmiwha Bullock
September 17, 2012
The Sociological Imagination
When we use “the sociological imagination,” we have a better ability to see patterns in society and identify how these patterns influence individuals and groups of individuals. The sociological imagination is a way of thinking that helps us use information (data) to form theories about the social patterns around us. (Vissing, 2011). C Wright Mills was a “leading sociologist”, and believed that we needed this sociological imagination to have a better society.
We should not judge someone unless we know what they have gone through or have been in their shoes. C. Wright Mills theorized that if we just look at things from our own view, then we will not know how or why people act the way that they do. It is good to look at something from someone else’s view. Then we can try to see what they are going through, how they feel, and why it is that way. He believed that knowledge, properly used, could bring about change and the good society. C. Wright Mills further argued that if the good society was not yet here, it was primarily the fault of intellectuals - people of knowledge. (Smith, Mark K., 1999, 2009). The more that we know about something, the more that we can be better. For example, if we know more about why people commit suicide, then we can figure out ways to prevent it.
C. Wright Mills did use many of the tools of conventional social inquiry such as surveys, interviews, data analysis, and charts. This helped him to keep things organized and made it easy to look at. Sometimes we have to look at the data to find out where we are going. If we do not know where we are going, then life will not be worth anything. We will just be going through life without living it.
The best way of remembering C. Wright Mills is in the advice he gives in the closing paragraphs of the, The Sociological...