What Is Sociology? How Does a ‘Sociological Imagination' Help Us Understand the Society in Which We Live? in What Ways Does a Sociological Perspective Differ from Individualistic and Naturalistic Explanations of Human Behaviour?

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Sociology can be described as the study of social life, social change, and the social causes and consequences of human behaviour (Bilton, 1987: Ch.1). A way of understanding sociology can be done through the ‘sociological imagination', which is a tool that provides many distinctive perspectives on the world, which generate new ideas and critique the old. To better understand the perspective this essay will additionally compare individualistic and naturalistic explanations of the human behaviour. This will be explored through examples of family life, education, crime and so on.

To define sociology we must first look at our world. The term sociology can be seen as the systematic study of relationships among people, the assumption being that behaviour is influenced by social, political, occupational and intellectual groupings and by the particular settings in which individuals find themselves. In relation to what sociology is we also look at how people view themselves and how much of their life's outcomes are incorporated with society's influence (Bilton, 1987: Ch.1).

This view of ones understanding of self and society is the essence of ‘sociological imagination'. The sociological imagination is the ability to see our private experiences and personal difficulties as entwined with the structural arrangements of our society and the times in which we live. The ‘sociological imagination' helps develop an understanding and even outlines the existence of society to the individual. As we see in the reading (Mills, C. Wright. "The Promise" in The Sociological Imagination, Ch.1) it talks about how nowadays people feel like that their private lives are a series of traps. This being because they attribute internally the events which surround them without looking at the external factors which greatly influence their daily life. The ‘sociological imagination' helps people in the way that it emphasises that individuals are affected by society's ways and changes....
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