Sociological Imagination

Topics: Sociology, The Sociological Imagination, C. Wright Mills Pages: 3 (852 words) Published: August 20, 2013
C. Wright Mills – the theorist behind the idea of the ‘sociological imagination’ C. Wright Mills – the theorist behind the idea of the ‘sociological imagination’ Sociological Imagination
Summarised from ‘Public Sociology’ pages 7, 8 and 9
C. Wright Mills defined sociological imagination as "the vivid awareness of the relationship between experience and the wider society." AND
He also said, ‘it enables us to grasp history and biography and the relations between the two within society.’ AND
That it is only through understanding the PUBLIC issues that we can understand PERSONAL issues… -------------------------------------------------
FOR EXAMPLE
Mills gave the example of unemployment. One man’s unemployment is a personal trouble but if hundreds of thousands of people across a nation are unemployed, it is no longer a matter of ‘personal failure’ but a public issue that requires political and economic interventions…

Thus, the sociological imagination is the ability to IMAGINE a link between the public and personal spheres…

When personal troubles are experienced collectively, sociologists highlight underlying social patterns and social influences. Mills claimed that if we could see the social forces affecting our lives we could more readily see solutions to our problems. It is not just a matter of changing our situation but changing what is happening in society. THIS IS HOW SOCIAL CHANGE OCCURS. -------------------------------------------------

EXAMPLE
In The late 1960s, second-wave feminism adopted the very sociological saying that ‘the personal is political’. The personal rights for which many individual women were fighting, such as access to safe contraception, no-fault divorce, safety from domestic violence, protection from sex discrimination, and the need for affordable childcare along with maternity leave and equal pay, were ALSO public issues that could be placed on the public agenda for political resolution. Indeed, the social reforms of the...
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