My personal condensed definition of “the sociological imagination” is that it is the idea one should be aware of the societal structures around themselves, and how those structures can influence a person and vice-versa. In addition, I think that having a “sociological imagination” also involves a deep appreciation for the importance of society and culture. Consequently, for a person that has completed a basic introduction to sociology college course and actually paid attention, I would hope that they have been exposed to some basic taste of the sociological imagination.
Over the past three and a half years as a student of Sociology at State University, I believe my own sociological imagination has grown exponentially, and I have been able to apply it to different elements of my daily life. With this paper, I will split it up into three main sections regarding my own sociological imagination. The first section takes some of the most popular sociological literature on the topic and applies it to creating a fully fleshed out definition of a “sociological imagination.” The second section covers my own personal journey to creating a strong sociological imagination and how it was internally developed. Finally, the final section showcases the different ways that I have tried to apply this newfound social perspective to the world around me and my life. Therefore, by the end of this paper, I hope to have demonstrated a strong grasp on how my own sociological immigration was developed and how it is currently being applied to how I interact with the world today.
While, the idea of a “sociological imagination” originally came from the influential American sociologist C. Wright Mills in his book “The Sociological Imagination,” there are interestingly many other terms and concepts from other sociologists that fit within the realm of Mills’ idea, the goal of being sociologically aware about how society and the individual are deeply intertwined. In regards to what Mills originally thought about this concept, he wrote that “the sociological imagination enables its possessor to understand the larger historical scene in terms of its meaning for the inner life and the external career of a variety of individuals. It enables him to take into account how individuals, in the welter of their daily experience, often become falsely conscious of their social positions” (Mills 1959:5). In many ways, Mills’ own definition of this concept is focused on shifting a person’s viewpoint of the world from a singular and individualistic ideal to a viewpoint that looks more about the societal and historical view of the world, especially within the context of a person’s current placement in social history.
However, as I mentioned earlier, other sociologists have also formulated the same general concept that Mills touched upon in his “sociological imagination.” An example is the work of Peter Berger and his idea about having a “sociological perspective.” Specifically, one of...