“Neither the life of an individual nor the history of a society can be understood without understanding both” – C. Wright Mills
Social Imagination – Understanding the Phenomenon
An individual who is facing unemployment tends to feel depleted, discouraged and defeated. It is very likely that the person would stand in the mirror and say, ‘You should have worked harder. You should have tried harder.’
In 1959, the famous sociologist, C. Wright Mills wrote a famous book The Sociological Impact. This book encourages young people to get rid of the biased lenses they are using to view their own lives currently and get a change of perspective. We have to understand the impact that social constructs have on students and their choices and examples of sociological imagination in education systems can also help us to get a perspective on this topic. To do this, we need to understand what social imagination is in the first place with the help of free essays online.
If Mills were around that person, he would say, ‘Not you. But rather the world around you.’ C. Wright Mills believed that people needed to stop focusing on themselves and should start to look at the broader perspective including the whole society.
Every issue that an individual faces is rooted within the society itself and is faced by many other people living in the same society. There are various sociological imagination examples. Every struggle that a young student & writer faces, from not getting good grades to getting loads of assignments, research essays, and homework, is a struggle that loads of people all over the world face.
Sociological Imagination and College Choice
Let’s take a look at the choice a person has to make while applying to different colleges. We think that it a solitary path – we have to pass the entrance tests, nail the entrance essays, give stellar essays.
However, it is not a solitary path. Sociologically speaking, millions of other young students are also doing the same thing. When you take your immediate surroundings into consideration, even your personal situation broadens.
Do your parents expect things from you? Is your teacher pushing you towards applying to an Ivy League while you want to go someplace else? Is there a family history associated with one particular university?
Your college choices don’t remain a solitary experience when you think from the perspective of sociological imagination.
Sociological Imagination & Everyday Behavior
You would be surprised to see how almost every behavior varies when it is seen from sociological imagination. Something as trivial as drinking tea or coffee can be seen from varying perspectives.
Sociologically speaking, drinking tea isn’t just the act of drinking a cup of Earl Grey – it can be a way of maintaining good health. It can be a tradition or ritual for some while some might be addicted to the caffeine they get from coffee or tea.
Going out for a cup of coffee can be a social activity as well where people don’t focus on having a cuppa but instead of catching up with their old friends. The moment you start viewing things from a perspective that is different from your own, you are entering the world of social imagination.
From exercising, owning a pet, watching TV, to studying for a school lesson set by your teacher, there are endless sociological imagination examples and perspectives for these seemingly solitary and personal activities.
Sociologically speaking, education, marriage, unemployment, etc. are not solitary and individual situations. Firstly, these sociological imagination examples are not experienced by a single individual but rather by millions across the globe. Secondly, these individual situations don’t have individual roots by definition.
They evolve from someplace and are influenced by various people & circumstances. Using a wider lens to view the relationship between society and your own personal experiences will help you see things differently.
Awakening a sociological imagination and utilizing these qualities is a valuable skill for students to learn as they become better prepared to navigate through a complex 21st-century world.