Sociological Imagination Vs. Common Sense Essay

1828 words - 7 pages

Sociological Imagination vs. Common Sense

This essay will aim to explain differences between the sociological imagination and common sense. What the sociological imagination and common sense are and how they are at work in our society today. Using the area of educational achievement I will bring into this essay examples through research and findings from sociologists such as; Pierre Bourdieu, Culture Capital (1977), Bernstein-(1961)speech patterns’ and Paul Willis (1977)learning to labour, and use these examples as evidence to show how these would explain educational achievement in relation to the sociological imagination and common sense assumptions. I shall begin this essay by discussing where the sociological imagination arose from and what this is in comparison to common sense.

American sociologist C.Wright Mills (1959) published a sociological text called ‘The sociological Imagination (1959), C.Wright Mills wrote in his book about ‘the troubles of milieu’ the word milieu means (environment) this was looked at as being where an individual will find themselves in a situation that is of a personal social setting to them and therefore could indeed affect them personally and in some extent the situation be this persons making.

Mills(1959), also wrote about public issues of social structure, referring to matters that go beyond the individual and look at society as a whole. How society is organised and how society works. This goes far beyond ‘the troubles of milieu, as it doesn’t look at the person and there individual experiences in society but looks at the wider social structure e.g social institutions… education, religion, family, law and how they have developed and interact with each other examples of the difference with ‘public issues’ and ‘personal troubles’ by looking at say education.

If there is an area of individuals failing to get into university then it is looked at as the individuals fault resulting in room for a common sense view which can been explained as a taking for granted assumption, common sense is nothing but assumed, e.g. These people have not not got into university because they aren’t bright enough or were too lazy to work hard enough’, but using the sociological imagination, sociological explanations uses empirical research to come up with their findings they might in this example look at the fact that If society has a large number of people failing to get into university, in there thousands say, then it is seen as a ’public issue’ and a more sociological explanation can be found e.g. class, status, economy are just some explanations worth exploring when looking from a sociological point of view.

The Sociological imagination according to Mills (1959), is a look at how to understand that experience through a logical framework, but not denying the importance of the personal experiences of individuals in society. “The sociological imagination enables us to grasp history and biography and the relations...

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