The Sociological Imagination and understanding personal troubles as social issues:
The Sociological Imagination allows us to question “things” or issues which are common and familiar to us and to find its deeper meaning. With the Sociological Imagination way of thinking, we find reasoning and uncover why many things in society are the way they are. The Sociological Imagination does not attempt to understand the individual and his or her problems alone, but focuses on issues and problems as it affects the greater society.
In society, many factors called social structures, influences our behaviour, thinking patterns, reasoning and our logical approach too many challenges. According to Mills “In order to analyse the effects it is important to see the world with a sociological state of mind and ‘...to see it whole.’” (1959:170). It is therefore important to note that as people grow up in different environments and surroundings; their way of thinking, reasoning and outlook on life differs. Due to various perceptions, values, ideals and experiences of life, many think that from their upbringing, the way they think and do things are “normal”. According to Mills, socialization takes place as people within a society learn to accept norms, values and roles without questioning it. (1959: 29). Therefore it can be said that Sociological Imagination enables us to look at social problems as a whole and not only from “our” own perspective. (Mills, 1959)
With unemployment we need to see the “bigger picture”, past our own perspective, why there are so many people without work. An unemployed person may think that because he or she can’t find work that it is his or her problem alone. Instead it can be seen as a social issue if many thousands of people in society are also unemployed and struggling to find work. The approach which should also be taken when dealing with a complex issue such as unemployment is that the stereotypes about the issue should be discarded...
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