Comparing Peter Berger And C. Wright Mills

2031 words - 8 pages

On reading the excerpts by Peter Berger and C. Wright Mills, it is obvious that these two sociologists have very different methods as to how the practice of sociology should be conducted. While these two authors may differ in their various methods, they both have an underlying point that they are trying to make which can be made applicable in any person’s daily life.
The main point behind Peter Berger’s work Introduction to Sociology is that in order to find out the truth about a person or perhaps a situation, one must take a deeper look than just looking at the deceptive superficial surface. He starts off making this point by saying that not everything is as clear as it may appear. The world that we live in has many different sides to it. The general public is usually not aware of all these different aspects of our world. Berger uses the term “cultural shock,” which refers to the sudden impact on a person by entering into a completely different culture not previously experienced by that person, to describe the way that a person feels when they first uncover a sociological aspect of the world. This shocking discovery takes place when a person’s eyes are opened to the environment around them and they perceive more than just the obvious, regardless of how drastic or subtle the realization may be. One example that Berger uses to aid in describing this phenomenon is when someone discovers that money going to their church is actually being contributed to a business that manufactures projectile weapons. While not all realizations are this dramatic, it still arouses a sense of enthusiasm within the discoverer. Once Berger fully explains how this sociological phenomenon takes place, he goes on to warn the reader that sociology is not for everyone. It is not for those who are comfortable with their surroundings and not willing to lose that familiarity. It is also not for those who have no curiosity about the world around them or those that lack the ability to think critically. This discipline is more for people that find human beings fascinating and want to know why they behave the way they do. The biggest point that Berger makes towards the end of this article is that one must be able to have an open mind and allow one’s self to see things in a new, unbiased light. This involves thinking outside of the box. He says that this discipline of sociology is all about seeing behind the mask and digging deeper. Berger believes that one cannot determine the true facts of a situation by simply giving it a superficial overview because that will tell one nothing.
C. Wright Mills tends to take a different avenue to explain sociology in chapter one of his book The Sociological Imagination. Mills basically makes four points throughout this chapter. The first point is that it is essential for the potential sociologist is to keep a journal-like file of his or her individual private experience and of his or her work experience as well. He says that because one’s work...

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