Developing Sociological Imagination from an Interactionist Perspective

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What is involved in developing sociological imagination from interactionist perspective? The concept of sociological imagination was developed by C. Wright Mills who defined it as "an awareness of the relationship between an individual and the wider society, both today and in the past" (Schaefer 5). Sociological imagination allows us to look at cultural activities and events from a larger perspective, placing them in a proper context. For example, it is considered normal in the United States to eat food while walking. Many people do so in busy streets of American cities. In Japan, however, it is considered disrespectful to food. Therefore, the Japanese people stop and eat their food while standing or sitting somewhere. A person employing sociological imagination would understand both practices within a national cultural context. Interactionist perspective in sociology, also known as symbolic interactionism, is "a theoretical framework that sees society as the product of individuals interacting with one another" (Macionis 13). In other words, daily interactions among people define their behavior. This theory also posits that the interactions involve symbols, gestures, facial expressions, and movements that can help us make generalizations about a larger society. Unlike other sociological perspectives, interactionist perspective looks at micro-sociology, focusing on smaller groups and activities. Based on understanding of micro activities, interactionist perspective
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