NAME: – KOPAL TEWARI
ROLL NUMBER: – L18BALB023
The term “SOCIOLOGICAL IMAGINATION” was discovered by C. WRIGHT MILLS in 1959. “THE VIVID AWARENESS OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN EXPERIENCE AND THE WIDER SOCIETY” (MILLS, 1959)
Sociological Imagination is a way of thinking about the things happening in the society and the results led by those things in the society and to grasp what sources have brought about those results.
The most common example of sociological imagination that can be taken is unemployment in which the society makes the unemployed person feel defeated, depressed, dispirit but if we take this example by MILLS theory then the outcome would be that the unemployed person does not have any employment because of the society around him and not his lack of skills or any other reason but it will be the society, nothing else.
We can even say that sociological imagination is a link between a personal view of a person about an issue in the society and the viewpoint of public about the same issue at large.To understand sociology a person should first understand the social world from the standpoint of the rest of the society before referring to his own.
Sociological imagination allows us to solve many of our issues through societal perspective not through personal perspective. It is the power to shift from one opinion to another. To be able to inspect the social world. To understand sociological imagination, we should apply it to our day to day life.
Sociology is where you as a person interact with the society at large. Almost any issue that we can think of can relate to sociology
So now I would like to take up some examples of sociological imagination to prove my thoughts about this topic more effectively.
As spoken about this problem before also I would like to go in detail with unemployment.
So first we start by knowing what is unemployment in a layman’s language unemployment is a problem in which a person is not able to get a job even after having appropriate qualifications. It is also an issue which sociologists thrive for.
When a person is employed he has several authorities in its hand which he enjoys to the fullest and is very satisfied with those authorities and power. Once he is unemployed and looses all his authorities and power then in need of money and all the other facilities he goes for a underqualified job and in such a situation the difference in people arouse because people who are qualified do not get appropriate jobs and some fortunate or we can say aristocrat people then start to dominate the society.
There are millions of people who are unemployed they include both classes of people some who lack skills and some who are unemployed even after having suitable qualifications.
So, when millions of people are jobless, unemployment is best understood as a public issue because, as Mills (Mills, 1959) put it, “the very structure of opportunities has collapsed. Both the correct statement of the problem and the range of possible solutions require us to consider the economic and political institutions of the society, and not merely the personal situation and character of a scatter of individuals.” So, unemployment is a societal issue not a personal problem as it affects people at large.
Eating disorders were common after 1950’s.Eating disorders, we usually consider these disorders as personal problem but this is a social issue. For instance, if a person has frequent family gathering where they have all kind of junk foods like chips, burgers, cookies etc. So, it is obvious that person would eat it and gain extra fat and if he does not eat he will have the pressure from his family to eat or he will have a thought that what will his family think if he will refuse to eat and all the other family members are eating etc.
People mainly consider eating disorders as a personal problem but from my standpoint I believe that it is a societal problem as what people eat have a pressure of the people around them.
“Neither the life of an individual nor the history of a society can be understood without understanding both.” ? C. Wright Mills
Imagine if there is a girl who wants to be thin and look beautiful but is unable to do so.
Firstly, why should she be thin? She should be proud of whatever she looks like no matter whoever thinks anything about her physical appearance. But here society plays a major role in forcing her to look good, not thinking of the fact that she can look good even when she is not thin but the society has a thinking that a girl when she is thin then only she is considered beautiful. This is a major issue of the present society so a girl trying to lose weight is not a personal problem but a social problem because in today’s world many girls suffer through this problem in their everyday life. So, anorexia is a vast issue in which girls want a perfect body in this sociological imagination helped us to know that it is a social issue as millions if people want a perfect body which is being thin not fat.
Whether it be 21st century or any century women are always regarded as housewives and child bearers. Women living in todays society are felt that if they are not married to a person then they don’t have a purpose for their life. When women choose to be independent they are criticized and the shocking fact is that mainly women only deprecate women. Women also need a free society like men do they also wish that they should not be judged for the way they dress, the way the talk etc. But now gradually these norms are being broken down by women and they are at the peak to be independent without any societal pressure. This has affected plenty of people so this is considered to be a social problem in which we need to think through the societies standpoint and not our personal viewpoint. The society is even tending to break down these traditional values and let the women live a peaceful, independent life.
Though sociological imagination is an ability of an individual to connect his/her thought with the thoughts of the society but this does not mean that we will judge other for their individual perspectives.
Not many people in the society are fortunate enough to go an attend a college for further studies the reason behind this can me many like family is not capable enough to make their child attend college, restrictions etc.
Sociological imagination deals with two issues personal and societal issue it helps us to relate our personal problem to a societal problem and the same thing goes for college too.
Students coming out of schools and going to college away from their hometowns are considered lucky because there are many students who are willing to study outside but are not able because of certain reasons. This problem becomes a social issue that should be handled
Society as a whole influence in such an issue to a large extent.
Sociological Imagination refers to the capability to distinguish between “personal issue and societal issue” (MURRAY, 2014). For instance, if there is an individual who is going through depression then that is a personal problem but in wider terms it is social issue as many people in the society go through the same problem.
“Neither the life if an individual nor the history of the society can be understood without understanding both.” (C. Wright.Mills,1959,1) which means that first we need to change our personal viewpoint for different issues and if we are not able to do so then we will not be able to understand the things going around us.
Important ingredient about sociological imagination is “the ability to recognize how society affects individuals” (C. Wright.Mills,1959,2). Mills also illustrated in his book that to better understand the problems the society is facing in the present it must go through the historical changes in the society. if we do not know what was dealt in the past then we would never be able to find a solution to the problem we are facing in the present.
It is needed for the people to relate every personal problem in their day to day life as a social problem to find a solution to it.
Another importance for sociological imagination is that it also helps an individual to widen their thought process to more vast issues than their personal troubles.
At the end I would just like to deduce by saying that sociological imagination has helped society to think with an openminded thought and help individuals to find an appropriate solution to their problem which they consider to be personal which actually is a significant problem faced by most of the people living in one society.
The Sociological Imagination – C. Wright. Mills