What is Sociological Imagination?

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What is Sociological Imagination?

This essay will explain the concept of sociological imagination, as coined by C. Wright Mills. It will discuss how this perspective enables individuals to understand the relationship between personal experiences and larger social and historical forces. The piece will explore the importance of sociological imagination in analyzing societal issues, understanding individual behavior within a broader context, and fostering empathy and critical thinking. You can also find more related free essay samples at PapersOwl about Disease.

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Sociological Imagination is a concept in sociology that helps interlink personal experiences to the wider social forces. It is the capacity to think systematically about social issues that people in a society all have in common. Hunger, poverty, and obesity are all examples of common social issues that exist within a society. According to C. Wright Mills, one who possess sociological imagination can understand the larger “historical scene in terms of its meaning for the inner life.” Mills explains that sociological imagination allows one to understand how personal experiences and choices are shaped by larger historically-conditioned social forces.

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Sociological Imagination helps us make connections to the larger social context in order to examine social issues, rather than viewing society as many isolated individuals. In order to avoid personal experiences, bias, or common sense, we view every issue as historically and contextually contingent. We conduct scientific research to test a hypothesis about the social world or propose theories to counter major social problems. Sociological Imagination allows us to make generalizations based on historical trends and research, rather than relying on stereotypes.

Obesity is major dilemma that lingers at the heart of the U.S. population. It leads to devastating effects to the body such as high blood pressure, hearth diseases, and diabetes. Seeing obesity from a non-sociological imagination perspective one would believe that being overweight is the result of bad personal choices or genetic predisposition. Being overweight is the result of past bad eating habits, decision making, or individual struggles. However, for someone who possess sociological imagination this is a complex issue that results from the historical patterns of social and economic life. A person with sociological imagination can conclude that obesity is not only caused my bad personal choices as there is an interplay between personal life and social forces that lead to personal decisions. For example, according the Central of Disease Control (CDC), the growing rates of obesity are caused by pressure exerted on people to purchase various unhealthy foods due to advertisements, poor lifestyle choices such as the inability to cook home food, and the difference in prices of healthy and fast foods (Central of Disease Control, 2010). The advertisement industry influences personal eating choices significantly as fast foods are presented as being cheap and filling. As humans we are biologically driven to get the biggest return for the cheapest price and fast foods are much cheaper than healthier foods due to government subsides. There is a major difference in government subsidies that are allocated towards fresh foods and vegetables compared to meats and dairy products. This leads to the prices of healthier foods being significantly higher than unhealthy foods.

The approach one takes at explaining a sociological Imagination might change depending on whether their experiences come from different branches of sociology. There are four branches of sociology: demography, organizational behavior, social history and social psychology. As Dr. Crosnoe mentioned in class, a social historian is someone who studies social trends across time. According to a social historian the causes of obesity might transpire within lifestyle trends of a person such as eating habits and physical activity. As a social historian, I would look at trends in lifestyle changes that have occurred due to the growth in technology. The rapid growth in technology over time has drastically changed our lifestyles, from gathering and hunting for food to having it delivered to the doorsteps. Foods are more accessible due to the growth in technology, for example, vending machines contained with high-calorie, high-fat snacks that serve to fulfil one’s craving at the workplace have made unhealthy foods more accessible. Agricultural innovations have led to the production of meats and dairy products at much lower costs, which has led to the influx in the supply of fast foods.

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What is Sociological Imagination?. (2020, Mar 15). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/what-is-sociological-imagination/