Sociological Imagination By C. Wright Mills

969 Words4 Pages
C. Wright Mills defined sociological imagination as "the awareness of the relationship between personal experience and the wider society". Understanding and being able to exercise the sociological imagination helps us understand the relationship between the individual and society. Mills focuses on the distinction between personal troubles and public issues. Having sociological imagination is critical for individual people and societies at large to understand. It is important that people are able to relate the situations in which they live their daily lives to the local, national, and global societal issues that affect them. To my understanding sociological imagination is a way for a person to look at their life as a result of…show more content…
The sociological imagination gives a reflective view, of what is happening in society and explains the relationship of an individual in a society. It adds value to the study of social life by being able to critique taken for granted assumptions and asks questions to view these assumptions in a new way. The use of applying sociological imagination can be seen in the study of everyday life and increases the understanding of an individual's placement in society. A reflexive process between personal troubles and the public issues is the main defining feature of the sociological imagination. Showing how individuals are placed in a society and how that society simultaneously affects the individual, helps in the understanding of the formation of social structure. Mills stated that personal troubles become public issues, needing attention from political and economic organizations not just personal judgments but from the individual (Mills: 1959). He saw this as the main characteristic of a sociological imagination. A personal trouble, such as divorce, affects the individual on a personal level causing grief and stress. Divorce rates become an issue when increased, affecting political and economic aspects of society and directly affecting individuals through policies and laws, in which they must obey. This idea is a reflexive process, meaning that one cannot occur without the other. Moore illustrates that acting reflexively is important in the search for a
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