Analysis of the sociological imagination and its use in sociology.

1483 Words May 23rd, 2003 6 Pages
Sociological Imagnation

The sociological imagination is the ability to look at the everyday world and understand how it operates in order to make sense of their lives. It is a state of mind, which enables us to think critically about and understand the society in which we live, and our place in that world as individuals and as a whole. C. Wright Mills, first wrote of the concept in 1959. His understanding of it being that it was "a quest for sociological understanding" involving "a form of consciousness for understanding social processes." It is a way for a person to look at their life as a result of their interaction with society. It can explain why a life is lived the way it is and all events, decisions, successes, and failures that
…show more content…
It is a matter that is of importance to the individual but does not bare great importance to the wider community, such as losing your job. Public issues however, have a much wider bearing and is of greater importance to the majority of the public, such as wide spread unemployment. In order to determine what constitutes major issues for the public and troubles for individuals there must be knowledge of what values are held within a particular society and wether or not they are under threat. Private troubles are essentially part of the larger social issues.

In 1888 the consensus was that suicide was a private act that lacked social approval. At the time suicide was largely considered to be a nervous disorder derived from a weak physiological disposition. Still today, when someone commits suicide the question is "what was wrong with them?" rather than "what lead them to be in such a state?" The first question suggests that it is a personal trouble, something that the individual failed to cope with. The second question suggests that there were institutional or social pressures that lead to suicide. In the 19th century Durkheim examined suicide rates records in and around France and found that some people were more likely than others to commit suicide. He found that men, Protestants, wealthy people, and unmarried people had higher suicide rates . This suggests suicide was not limited to a small
Open Document