Midterm

Topics: Sociology, Capital, Social capital Pages: 8 (3287 words) Published: December 4, 2013

1. In this essay, please fully explain—in your own words and fully cited-- what Mills means by “the sociological imagination” and then discuss how it might be used in escaping from the inequality trap. Please use a standard 5 paragraph essay format. The first paragraph should be devoted to Mills and the following paragraphs should put Mills “in conversation” with Schwalbe. I expect to see both authors fully cited in the body of your text. The sociological imagination is being able to step outside of your normal routine and look at things from a different perspective. It is the theoretical consciousness of the link between experience and a wider society. It is also being able to view things socially, and how they connect and influence others. Using the sociological imagination helps you grasp a relationship between yourself and how you fit into society, allowing you to step outside your thoughts and put yourself in the world. The sociological imagination can be used to escape he equality trap in several different ways. C. Wright Mills suggests that people must be able to withdraw from a situation and think from an alternative point of view. This suggestion ties directly into Schwalbe’s idea of freeing the imagination. In order to free the imagination people must learn to think of alternatives. People should also take the initiative to learn, support others when they oppose questions, figure out the components of the world, and compose a plan to recreate the world in a way that everyone can be happy and benefit. Wright also suggests seeing things from other people’s point of view. Schwalbe touches on this a little bit in the Humanizing Others section. He thinks that if we look at other people as a member of our family we would feel some kind of compassion which would make us feel obligated to help them (Schwalbe, 2008, Pg 243). He also thinks that seeing people that are much worse off than we are suffering, might encourage us rebel (Schwalbe, 2008, Pg 244). The sociological imagination encourages people to look at the bigger picture. It inspires you to question the social structure versus blaming oneself for not being able to keep your head above water. You have to make sure you are doing everything that you possibly can before looking for a glitch in the social structure. Sometime we are not the main donor to the problem that we encounter on a daily basis. 2. Please explain how rigging the game affects the distribution of capital. Schwalbe believed that certain groups of people are able to get ahead because of their access to the three capitals and that this is a part of the reproduction and continuation of inequality. He also believed that understanding the three capitals would be the key to helping us understand why people social class seems to be inherited as oppose to being achieved. Human capital is basically what you have to offer. It usually persists of skills, level of education, and your work experience. People that are of the minority, people who are less fortunate and have been discriminated against are usually less likely to obtain the quality of human capital that allows them to be eligible to compete in this “rigged game” (Schwalbe, 2008, Pg 10). It is quite easy for a less person to lack quality education. If a person is poor, more than likely they live in some lousy inner-city neighborhood where there are nothing but over populated public schools and plenty of people standing on the street corners who have already gave up on trying to get ahead. Public schools in urban areas are usually over crowed with an approximate thirty to one student teacher ratio. On the other hand, schools in the suburbs tend to be better learning environments because of smaller classes that allow teachers to acknowledge the children in smaller groups. It is much harder for people in poverty to get a good education not only because of the schools but because of the influence of the neighborhood. Inner-city neighborhoods are...
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