Applying Sociological Imagination to the Drug or Alcohol Abuser
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C. WRIGHT MILLS SOCIOLOGICAL IMAGINATION
Introduction According to C. Wright Mills (1959), sociological imagination is the ability to appreciate a different (wider) perspective of the self in relation to others and to society than the narrow perspective of the self that comes most naturally to the individual. Today, sociological imagination is a concept that is considered central to the study of sociology and other disciplines such as social psychology because the ability to shift from a personal perspective to a more objective perspective is crucial to understanding other people and to understanding the norms, values, and expectations of other societies that may differ substantially from the society of the researcher or student.
Applying Sociological Imagination to the Drug or Alcohol Abuser There are at least two different aspects of sociological imagination that apply to substance abusers. First, there is the issue of how the behavior developed within the context of external social influences. For example, substance abuse rarely begins in isolation; instead, the first experiences of most drug and alcohol users is typically within the context of social relationships within a particular subcultures and the norms, values, and expectations of individuals within those subcultures. In that sense, the individual exercising sociological imagination might realize that the choices of norms and behaviors of the members of that subculture provide an impetus for every