What Is the Sociological Perspective (Imagination)

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Diane Ihlenfeldt
February 13, 2004
Question 1: What is the sociological perspective?

What is the nature of the social sciences? This is the question that began the study of society, first performed by C. Wright Mills in his development of the idea of the sociological imagination. There are many different aspects to the sociological perspective. Merriam-Webster dictionary defines perspective as "the capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance". Having a sociological perspective means that you view all of societies components and their relationship to the individual. First I will discuss how individuals are socialized. Next I will point out societal structures role in that socialization. Finally I will discuss how the sociological perspective allows us to view different inequalities in the world.

While growing up we rarely think about why we do things the way that we do, and make the decisions that we make. From infancy we are socialized, meaning that we are trained how to exist within our social environment. By developing a sociological perspective we are able to see that we are socialized, and view how our social environment has an effect on the decisions that we make. Social environments differ across many boundaries including, but not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, and class. For example I was raised within a poor, Caucasian, single parent, low class family, which means that the decisions I make may be different from the decisions made by someone raised in a rich, Catholic, Hispanic, two parent, upper middle class family. For example because we were poor, my mother was uneducated, our class was low, and our religion played as more of a financial support system than a moral characterizing system, we consider it okay to have children outside of the structural bounds of marriage. There are different rules, known as norms, by which we must abide in order to be considered well adjusted to society. It is...
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