Personal Troubles and Social Issues in C.W. Mills' 'The Sociological Imagination'

Powerful Essays
Before a distinction can be made between ‘Personal troubles' and ‘Social issues' it is important to determine exactly what the Sociological Imagination is.

The Sociological Imagination was introduced by C. Wright Mills in 1959. Sociological imagination refers to the relationship between individual troubles and the large social forces that are the driving forces behind them. The intent of the sociological imagination is to see the bigger picture within which individuals live their lives; to recognize personal troubles and social issues as two aspects of a single process.

Sociological imagination helps the individual to understand the society in which they live in by moving the individual away from reality and looking beyond the picture it self. By doing so it helps to show the strong link between an individual's personal life and the society in which they live. The sociological imagination requires us to engage in the study of an individual's biography; but to place that biography in the larger context of the history and tradition of the society in which that individual lives. By acknowledging the relation between history and biography we can see how personal troubles and social issues are connected. Many times people fail to see their own biographies as being correlated to the larger public of society.

Personal troubles can be defined as when an individual is having problems related to him or herself. Social issues can be defined as issues and matters that are related to society on the whole in general.

Throughout this assignment I will link the concept of Sociological Imagination to the concept of suicide. Suicide is ‘the act or an instance of taking one's own life voluntarily and intentionally'. Emile Durkheim stated that "Suicide is the death resulting directly or indirectly from a positive or negative act of the victim himself, which he knows will produce this result."

Durkheim's aim was not to explain or predict an individual tendency to



Bibliography: C. Wright Mills, The Sociological Imagination, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1959). Emile Durkheim, The Rules Of Sociological Methods, (London: The Free Press, 1982). Emile Durkheim and Steven Lukes, The Rules Of Sociological Method (Contemporary Social Theory), (New York: Palgrave Publishers Ltd, 1982). Gerard O 'Donell, Mastering Sociology 4th Edition, (New York: Palgrave Publishers Ltd, 2002). George Ritzer, Toward an Integrated Sociological Paradigm, (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1981). Webliography http://prevos.net http://www.siue.edu

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Better Essays

    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…

    • 1259 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Better Essays

    agricultural work. I will be discussing some significant personal troubles in my life and the role some issues have in creating them. In “Sociological Imagination,” C. Wright Mills explains “Troubles occur within the character of the individual and within the range of his immediate relations with others; they have to do with his self and with those limited areas of social life of which he is directly and personally aware.”(Mills, 2000, pg. 8) A trouble in my life, according to Mills’ definition of the…

    • 773 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    will be addressing what Mills means by the terms ‘personal troubles’ and ‘public issues’, I will also be attempting explain how Mills’ work is what underpins McKenzie’s introductory chapter. Mills defined ‘personal troubles’ as something that “occurs within the character of the individual and within the range of his immediate relations… A trouble is a private matter whereby an individual's cherished values are felt to be threatened.” A ‘public issue’ on the other-hand is defined as “values cherished…

    • 467 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    a sense and feeling of a community. When conflicted, naturally, we as humans look to others for guidance. Whether a broad problem faced by many or a personal problem affecting one, the support of another can sometimes help. But what problems must one face alone? We can base these moral decisions by factor of benefit. In other words, a personal problem is one that affects one person and the resolution to that problem would only benefit him/her in result. Additionally, if the ultimate decision…

    • 278 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Better Essays

    husband while we were both in the same room. I have become increasingly aware of the adverse affects of social media on myself and society. Giving up my iPhone has become a number one priority due to the fact that it is monopolizing my time and life. The use of social media is dramatically on the rise. Facebook alone has an estimated 550 million visitors per month (Das & Sahoo, 2011). Social networking sites are a convenient way to keep in touch with each other, and they have transformed our lives…

    • 1804 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    social issues

    • 306 Words
    • 2 Pages

    A social issue (also called a social problem or a social situation) is an issue that relates to society's perception of a person's personal life. Different cultures have different perceptions and what may be "normal" behavior in one society may be a significant social issue in another society. Social issues are distinguished from economic issues. Some issues have both social and economic aspects, such as immigration. There are also issues that don't fall into either category, such as wars. Thomas…

    • 306 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    Social Issue

    • 3298 Words
    • 14 Pages

    ------------------------------------------------- Social issue From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia "Social problems" redirects here. For the journal, see Social Problems (journal). | This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. This article needs attention from an expert in Sociology. The specific problem is: may need to be rewritten entirely to comply with Wikipedia 's quality standards. (March 2013) | This article 's tone or style…

    • 3298 Words
    • 14 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Trouble

    • 1811 Words
    • 8 Pages

    345 THE TROUBLE WITH TALENT: ARE WE BORN SMART OR DO WE GET SMART? ________________ KATHY SEAL Kathy Seal is a journalist and author who has written about education and psychology since 1985 for such publications as The New York Times, Family Circle, and Parents. Seal attended Barnard College, where she graduated magna cum laude. She is the author of two books: Riches and Fame and I the Pleasures of Sense (1971) and Motivated Minds: Raising Children to Love Learning (2001). "The Trouble with Talent"…

    • 1811 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    social issue

    • 866 Words
    • 3 Pages

    Brendon McNeil Social Issue Final Fall 2014 What makes something a social issue? Four individuals walk into a bar, a functionalist, neo-Marxist, an investigative journalist and a person of color and the topic of discussion is what makes something a social issue? A social issue encompasses issues that a small to representative group of people within a society disagree with or find undesirable. A social issue or a social illness, a topic or issue must both influence the society where that problem…

    • 866 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Better Essays

    Social Issue

    • 1119 Words
    • 3 Pages

    Hassan, on the other side of the coin, is the son of Ali, a member of the Hazaras and Amir’s personal servant. He does not attend school and is analphabetic and wears pitiable clothes. And despite the fact they live in the same property, Amir’s dwelling is the most beautiful and opulent house in town, meanwhile the servant child lives in a humble cabin down by their garden. The Kite Runner clearly exposes the social inequality of Amir and Hassan upon the different lifestyles of the characters, the education…

    • 1119 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Better Essays