The Conflict Between Personal Experience And The Wider Society

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Homelessness has been a common and natural feature of a city throughout the world. While the public perceptions of these “undesirables” are lazy, dangerous, and ignorant, it is not solely their fault and choice to be on the streets. Sociological imagination, as coined and defined by C. Wright Mills, is “the vivid awareness of the relationship between personal experience and the wider society”. Simply put, it is the ability to interpret situations and circumstances in terms of social context and understand how they interact and influence each other. Different paradigms of sociology exist to explain the ongoing social issues and their factors, and offer solutions for a more evolved society. Contrary to popular association of homelessness with drugs, alcohol, violence and crime, it is not always an outcome of laziness or wrong choice. Many inevitable factors exist at a microscopic level for each street person who was pushed (forced) onto the streets. According to the article, “Street People” by David. A Snow and Leon Anderson, factors that lead homelessness to private trouble include “lacking the money to enter even the low-income housing market, having limited education, few job skills, a dearth of social support off the streets, and in many cases problems with alcohol or drugs”. Other factors that account for the remaining portion are mental illness, domestic violence, and divorce. Obviously, these circumstances are beyond one’s control and street people are not the only
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