Social Issues Involving Human Disadvantage Within Zambia
Social Change, Cultures and Development in Africa
3 February 2014
During my readings of C. Wright Mills, I was introduced to the concept of social imagination. Social imagination is the quality of achieving a lucid summation of what is going on in the world and what may be happening within yourself by determining what you need or what you feel you need. Within social imagination, you have to look at the complete structure of your society, how your society stands in human history, and the difference in the men and women who prevail in this society. This becomes a useful concept because it helps people understand what was going on in the world during a certain time period and it allows people clarity on what is happening within them (Mills, 1959). Throughout the remainder of the paper, I will introduce the country of Zambia and describe a few of the sociological issues that I discovered from my research and experience. Zambia is located in Sub-Saharan Africa (south-central Africa), east of Angola and south of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It also borders Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Namibia. Formally known as Northern Rhodesia, Zambia gained its independence from the UK in 1964 naming Kenneth Kaunda as the first president. According to BBC news, “President Kaunda imposed single-party socialism, in which his United National Independence Party (UNIP) was the only legal political party within a ‘one-party participatory democracy’,” (“Zambia Profile, 2014). The constitution was eventually changed allowing a multi-party system where they now practice a Multi-party Democracy style government where they have Michael Sata, of the Patriotic Front, as the current president, who was elected 23 September 2011. (“Zambia”, 2014).
Zambia has tough social conditions in regards to personal troubles and issues. But before we can determine what social conditions Zambia faces, we first we must define and understand what is a personal trouble and what is an issue. “Troubles occur within the character of the individual and within the range of his or her immediate relations with others; they have to do with one’s self and with those limited areas of social life of which one is directly and personally aware,” (Mills, 1959). Therefore, a trouble can only be seen as a problem that is occurring within an individual and not a group of individuals. If I, myself, am unable to eat, then it is considered a trouble. Issues, on the other hand, are a public matter that surpasses the individual’s environment and inner life. An issue has to do with multiple organizations of many different backgrounds of society as a whole. Issues also are the larger organizations that compare to social and historical life. Therefore, an issue can be seen as a problem that is occurring within a group of individuals. If I, myself, am unable to eat and the people in my neighborhood are also unable to eat then this becomes an issue. Understanding the differences between a trouble and an issue will further help us when we begin using the concept of Sociological Imagination. In order to use the concept of Sociological Imagination, we must first determine the structure of the Zambian society as a whole. In Zambia, Poverty and illnesses are widespread. I believe that this is because Zambia has social issues regarding the lack of education, lack in quality of education, and the lack of knowledge on how to apply that education to better their futures. Primary school, grades one through eight, is free for the children in Zambia but in order to continue to grade nine, you must pay for school. Most people in the villages of Zambia are incapable of affording their children the opportunity to continue with school. This is due to limited finances as well as due to needing them to assist around the house in order to help feed and clothe the other family...
Cited: Mills, C. W. (1959). The Sociological Imagination. New York: Oxford University Press.
Zambia. (2013, December 31). UNICEF. Retrieved March 8, 2014, from http://www. unicef.org/infobycountry/zambia_statistics.html
Zambia. (2014, January 28). Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved February 3, 2014, from https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/za.html.
Zambia Profile. (2014, February 13). BBC News. Retrieved March 9, 2014, from http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-14112449
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