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Sociological Imagination

The Sociological Imagination, Mills used the same famous phrase which is used in society today. Sociological imagination is a way of been able to ‘think ourselves away’ from our familiar routines of day to day living in order to look at them from a new perspective. Mills define Sociological Imagination as ‘the vivid awareness of the relationship between experience and the wider society. ‘ It is the ability to see things socially and how they interact and influence each other. To have a sociological imagination, a person must distance himself from the situation and look at it from a different point of view.

Willis argued that sociology requires a particular type of imagination, sociological imagination; that sociology cannot be based purely on individual experiences but by linking ones individual and private experiences with a broader spectrum approach. Jureidini and Poole explained that sociologists studied the broad structural factors, the processes and practises that influences everyday life and vice versa. Mills describes the components of sociological imagination as the influences that connect lives (biographies) and history within society s structure.

To consider the sociological imagination, you ust think of the relationship between biography, structure and history within society. The sociological imagination helps a person to understand why there are certain attitudes, behaviours and believes. It gives us ideas and theories on how to analyse what we see and read every day. So that we can evaluate social issues, and link them to our everyday lives and experiences. Mills considered aspects of both micro (private issues) and macro (public issues) approaches as influences to the study of society. Personal troubles are privately felt problems while public issues affect society as a whole”. To explain the distinction between a person r private issue and a public issue clearly I will use the following example: If a teenager abuses alcohol at home, this would be a very private issue creating much emotion and pain within the family unit. However, if forty five present of our youth abuses alcohol and there is a whole criminal subculture supporting the maintenance of alcohol abuse then it would be a public issue.

This scenario must consider biographical and historical circumstances to evaluate the impact of such an issue. A private issue impacts society on a micro scale by adding to the problem and society contributes to each individual case because of the nfluences society can have on each person as an individual. The impact that alcohol abuse has on a family can be very bad but when seen through the eyes of the sociological imagination, the influence on society can be just as bad. Analysis of newspaper articles: ‘Tokyo denies physically abusing wife’ Tokyo Sexwale was allegedly abusing his wife Judy while they were married.

Domestic violence can be seen as a private issue, as it is something that happened between Tokyo and Judy in the privacy of their home and it influenced the individuals involved on a personal level. In a lot of these cases the people nvolve blame and justify their actions on factors influencing the couple s relationship. It is normally viewed by the couple as an issue between themselves because it is their own personal relationship. This could also have been the reason why Judy only waited to reveal this issue until the divorce.

The experience must also have been very personal and troubling to Judy as it damages ones whole sense of being and self-worth. What happens in the privacy of their home made them think what a lot of people think ‘what goes on in the home is behind closed doors and not talked about with outsiders’. All of the above factors show ow this can be seen as a private issue. All of this then changed when Judy made it public that she was abused by her husband. As woman abuse is a very real issue in society and also a criminal offence makes this a public issue as well.

It is said that social factors such as gender inequalities and patriarchal structures influences domestic violence. Hence C. Wright Mills’ concept of sociological imagination, ‘the quality of mind to see what is going on in the world and what may be happening within it selves,” can be applied to this situation for it can be distinguished as both a private issue and a public issue. ‘Coptic Christians claim orture in Libyan detention centre’ The Christians that were captured chose their religion and wanted to serve God. They also chose to wear the crosses on their wrists to sow that they were Christians.

This makes this a private issue. It was their own private believes that made them decide to be Christian. It could also have been that their families were Christians and that they followed in their parents believes as they were raised in that manner. It is a very personal thing between you and God. However it was made a public issue by the militia who rounded people up in a market to see if they had crosses on their wrists and then rrested them in front of all to see. This is creating a fear in society and among all the Christians in eastern Libya.

They are second guessing their religion and wearing the crosses. It is creating division in society and people are now fighting among each other to what is the right religion to follow instead of it being a private matter of personal conviction. The detention centres is also said to have more violence issues than ever before. This issue can therefore also be seen as a private as well as a public issue. Sociological imagination is according to me a ery helpful tool in accepting what happened to you and the choices that you made in live.

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