Dalton Conley’s Textbook

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In Dalton Conley’s textbook, You may ask Yourself Sociological Imagination is “the ability to see the connections between our personal experiences and the larger forces of history” (Conley, 2017, Ch.1). C. W. Mills also explains by stating “the individual can understand his own experience and gauge his own fate only by locating himself within his period, that he can know his own chances in life only by becoming aware of those of all individuals in his circumstance” (Conley, 2017, Ch.1). This simply

means A person’s life is filled with challenges, decisions, and choices that will turn them into the person they are meant to become and their future.

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As well, we can predict our future by looking at everyone in similar circumstances. Using sociological imagination, we can imagine the larger picture and reflect on our lives and how they shaped who we are. Using C. W. Mills’ concept of Sociological Imagination, I will explain how being overweight my whole life and then losing 70 pounds over six months transformed and shaped my life.

Personal Explanation

I had been overweight since I was 10. Personally, I think it was due to bad eating habits embedded in my head since I was young, but we’ll get back to that. I remember all middle school is overweight. It was brutal because middle school students are very mean. They would bully me because of my weight. This if course caused me to act out. I was constantly fighting and getting into arguments with other kids. I liked to think I was defending myself.

It wasn’t until high school that I really stopped getting in trouble. I think it was because I only didn’t let it show that I cared what they say. I stayed in my certain friend group, or I kept to myself. I was still very self-conscious about my appearance and that reflected on my personality as I was very closed. Around the beginning of sophomore year, I lost a lot of weight. From my heaviest at 5’7 210 pounds to 5’7 160. I felt great and it really pushed me to be more social and outgoing. I even

found a girlfriend (who I am still with) named Pamela. I felt on top of the world. Although what I didn’t do correctly was maintained my weight loss. Eventually after constantly eating out and reintroducing sweets and bad habits back into my life I gained all my weight back being a senior in high school weighing around 220 was awful. I was extremely obese.

I went back to my old ways of being rude and ungrateful. This reflected in my relationship which resulted in a short separation. During this separation I lost the weight again, the correct way. I ate right and started lifting weights. Over the short amount of 6 months I lost 70 pounds, going from 220 and obese to 150, fit, and healthy. This was the greatest thing I could have done for my health. I felt terrific. Eventually me and my girlfriend got back together and worked things out. Our separation

really helped me find myself and allowed me to focus on loving myself. Now I’ve kept up with my health and still feel great about myself. I’m pushing through nursing school, making new friends, being social, and living my best life. Being overweight overall was a bad thing, but a few things came from it. I really learned to stick up for myself which I think is a very strong thing in todays age. As well now can live a healthy and productive life.

Applying Sociological imagination

Looking at my situation from the outside one would assume that obesity is a personal issue. I decide what to put in my mouth therefore I control what I weigh. That is true but what if you look at it from a family perspective. One factor that plays a role in obesity is culture. Culture being defined as the sum of social categories embraced in addition to beliefs, behaviors, and practices (Conley, 2017, Chapter 3). I learned from my mother and grandmother that food was a solution for everything. Family

gatherings? Bring food. Birthdays? Celebrations? Bring food. We also tend to bring unhealthy food like burgers and desserts. As well emotional eating was passed on to me as a learned behavior, so I developed bad habits from a young age. This is what I was taught to do and how to eat. I was never taught portion control or working out daily. This ultimately translated to me becoming obese because I ate like I played 4 sports but all I did was play video games and sit on my butt. What I eat is a personal issue but how much I eat, and my eating habits are influenced by others making it a public issue.

As well we have socialization “the process through which individuals internalize the values, beliefs, and norms of a society and learn to function as its members” (Conley, 2017, Chapter 4) Which correlates with culture but in more of a sense that if you surround yourself with overweight people you are less likely to be healthy. We as Americans are an obese nation, and it translates because more and more people become fat every day. This influences not only people like me but everyone. Obesity is becoming more of a majority.

Another major societal factor that influences obesity would be poverty. In that, the culture of poverty; which is the idea that poor people adapt certain practices that differ from higher class societies in order to survive in difficult economic circumstances (Conley, 2017, Chapter 10). If one is hungry but, on a budget, they are much more likely to use five dollars to buy fast food verses using five dollars to buy fruit. Those in poverty have no choice but to opt for the food choices they can afford, thus choosing the less healthy option. In my situation we ate fast food a lot. Mc Donald’s is not the healthiest of options when it comes to dinner, but it was cheap so that’s what we got. Pizza was also common. My parents cooked a lot but it was a lot of unhealthy cheap calorie loaded foods.


Nearly 40% of all adults are obese. (Holland, 2017) Obesity is more than common, it’s just barely the minority. We also have places such as food deserts which are area of the united states where you cannot find healthy and fresh food. As well we have government subsidies whom less than 1% of subsidies goes to healthy fresh grown fruit whereas most goes to meat and dairy. This translate to fruits and vegetables costing tons of money whereas meat and dairy and grain products are cheap. We also spend

over 147 billion dollars each year to treat obesity related illness and disease. Obviously, obesity is more than a personal issue and needs to be treated as a society. We should want to be healthy and fit yet but because of society it is normal to be obese. It is normal to eat out constantly and not worry about our experiences. If we want to be healthier, we have to look outside of our personal selves and look at this as a societal problem.


Sociological Imagination is “the ability to see the connections between our personal experiences and the larger forces of history”. Applying this so obesity, we can see how sure, what food you put in your mouth is a personal decision, but we do not live in a tunnel. We are influenced by others greatly when it comes to eating and eating habits. Nearly 40% of all adults are obese. Culture influences obesity, as well does poverty. We can see from my personal experience that as a child I was still influenced by my parents and family on how I ate and that resulted in me becoming obese. I eventually learned that the way I was eating was unhealthy and food should be treated more as a need than a want. Once I discovered that I was able to make huge changes in my life and feel the way I want to feel.”

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Dalton Conley’s Textbook. (2021, May 24). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/dalton-conleys-textbook/