Sociological Imagination

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The concept of “sociological imagination” is one that can be explained many different ways. A simple way to think of the sociological imagination is to see it as a way a person thinks, where they know that what they do from day to day in their private lives (like the choices they make), are sometimes influenced by the larger environment in which they live (Mills 1959, 1). What C.W. Mills meant by this concept is that it is the ability to “understand the larger historical scene in terms of its meaning for the inner life and the external career of a variety of individuals” (1959, 3). In other words, the concept of sociological imagination is the ability to realize that the choices people make and their personal environments are often…show more content…
Mills said in his essay, “the most fruitful distinction with which the sociological imagination works is between ‘the personal troubles of milieu’ and ‘the public issues of social structure’” (1959, 4).
Simon Davis’ study of traditional sex stereotypes shows that Davis used sociological imagination during his study. Davis shows this when he states that his study had some limitations, “It could be argued that people placing personal ads are not representative of the public in general” (1990, 33). This shows that even though the study was focused on personal ads in one newspaper, Davis was aware that it may not fully represent the public in general and therefore the change in sex stereotypes may or may not still be common. This ability to look beyond the area being studied when thinking about representing the public and trying to see if it changed (in this case if the sex stereotypes were still in operation) shows sociological imagination because according to C.W Mills, “to understand the changes of many personal milieu we are required to look beyond them” (1959, 6).
The article by Charles A. Gallagher proves that Gallagher has a sociological imagination because of the way he explains the miscounting of races by showing how many people’s lack of sociological imagination causes them to miscount other races. Gallagher makes it clear that the reason why many whites miscount minorities is that many of their own milieu
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