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Life and History of Society and Individual Essay

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In the present world, most people cannot help having the feeling that their lives have been reduced to a mere series of traps. It’s as if their daily lives are trapped in a vicious circle wherein their troubles stand no chance of ever being surmounted in this lifetime. To a certain extent, they are justified to feel the way they do. More often than not, ordinary people feel they will never ever reach their full potential as they are bounded by their small personal worlds in which they live day in, day out. Their small worlds revolve around minimum wage jobs, their small neighborhoods, and, more critically, their immediate families and few friends. All these factors, in one way or another, reduce them to mere spectators instead of being active participators. This sinking feeling they endure day in day out justifies the trapped feeling they live with on a daily basis. (Mills, 1959)

The impersonal changes in the very fabric of societies the world over are what underlies this sense of being trapped. The same specifics that befall modern history are the same ones that determine the failures or successes of humanity the world over. When society grows and gets developed, a peasant is bound to get employed, a feudal lord close shop, or becomes an entrepreneur. People either get hired or laid off when classes rise or fall; a person takes a new heart or goes broke when investments go up or down. When wars occur, an insurance person becomes a rocket launcher; a wife or husband lives alone, or children could end up becoming parentless. The only way one can understand the history of either a society or an individual is to understand both the life and history of both. (Tester, 2004)

The Structure of Society

Asking about faith, reformatory facilities, family relations, minor literary mood, or the great power of the state are some of the important queries that make up some of the core issues social analysts rely on for a better evaluation of the situation in any given society. These are some of the basic issues that affect people in any society and therefore make up most of the contents for any lessons to be learned in society. To be able to change one’s mindset or conviction to another or shift from the oil industry to poetry, theology to military, they all need to address these same issues. To be able to comprehend the connection between personal and private individual matters to the most remote changes is what all these issues are all about. The knack to understand the historical as well as the social background of humanity and the reason behind these findings in a given time frame, is of great value to sociological analysts (Mills, 1959).

I, for one, come from a family of five, my mother, dad, elder sister, a younger brother, and I. As it’s widely known, China has implemented a “one child, one family” policy; this policy was introduced to control the huge population explosion in China. If the same policy could be applied here in London, my family would be considered a very big family as far as the policy in china is concerned. Not only does my father work outside, but my mother works out there too as well. Both of them earn money to support the family. When I was a child, I remember my father did not want my mother to get a job because he thought women were meant to stay at home and take care of the family according to the values that were laid down by his forefathers, which he strongly still believes in. This made him lament so much about how my mother was not being a good wife and mother as she was not complying with his long-held customary beliefs. Eventually, he made a deal with my mother. The deal was, my mother to give birth to a baby boy, then he would allow her to get a job. By then, my mother had been a housewife for 6 years. Eventually, my mother had a baby boy after the 6th year of marriage. After that, she was allowed to have a job; thank God she was lucky to have a baby boy as she needed it most to the point of desperation. Had it been a girl, my dad could never have allowed her to get a job.

This is a relative theory about different people having different ideas and values despite them living in the same society. My grandmother is still unhappy about my mother becoming a businesswoman because she has an ineradicable traditional thought in her mind. She still believes that women are supposed to stay at home and take care of their families just as she did during her time, but not go out to look for work. My grandmother spent her whole life taking care of her family and children, my dad included. As much as it is a great job, the gender role has changed quite a lot all over the world today. A woman working outside the confines of her matrimonial home is a common thing nowadays, irrespective of whether she is married or not. (Tester, 2004)

The shaping of history has now outpaced the capability of people to adjust themselves in accordance with historically prized values. Till now, people still have the notion that older ways are out of touch with the new state of the world, while the new ones have led to moral decay to the point of no return. There is an ever-increasing feeling of hopelessness from the majority of ordinary people as far as the bigger world that confronts them on a daily basis is concerned. This is the main reason why the majority of people retreat to their private cocoons in self-defense and have become morally insensitive. All these factors are responsible for the masses feeling trapped (Mills, 1959).

To connect biography and history within society today, it’s important for both men and women to employ sociological imagination to help them understand that only they can bring about change, however little it might seem to them. The realization of the transformative ability of history as well as the social relativity has made the common man feel like a perfect stranger, if not an outsider. The sociological analysis is the most prolific form of this self-consciousness. The awareness that has been realized through sociological analysis has been an eye-opener for most of the people whose school of thought was short-sighted but now have a better understanding of the state of affairs today. (Tester, 2004)

Be it correctly or incorrectly, people often come to feel that they can now offer themselves sufficient summations, consistent assessments, and wide-ranging orientations. Through this, their capacity for bewilderment is made lively once again. They now do have a better understanding of values through their newfound sensibilities, all made possible through social science. They are now able to reflect and make better judgments of themselves as well as their immediate surroundings, unlike before. John & Guy (2002)

Society’s Position in Human History

Perhaps the most productive feature with which the sociological analysis works is between ‘the personal troubles of the immediate surroundings and the public issues of the social structure. In sociological analysis, this distinction happens to be one of the most vital assets. Within the character of an individual or the immediate associations with others, predicaments are sure to arise. All these could b attributed to personal as well as the little areas in their social life that are evident in a society that allows personal activities and experiences. It all depends on an individual’s biographical entity within his or her immediate social surroundings. John & Guy (2002)

In most cases, these issues cover matters that surpass these local environments of the individual as well as the range of his or her inner life. Historically, every society that forms the larger structure of social as well as historical life as a whole always has issues associated with its organizations, surroundings as well as institutions. In life, there is always a contest between values and what works against the same values. Concerns usually entail predicaments in institutional agreements, and often too it involves what Marxists once referred to as ‘contradictions’ or ‘antagonisms. ‘(Tester, 2004)

In these particular terms, look at unemployment. If a single person is not employed in a city with a population of 100,000 and everyone else is employed, it’s often looked at as a personal problem, and because of this, the public will try and analyze the person’s skills, character, and where he could fit in, or what he could do for a job. On the other hand, if 15 million people are jobless in a nation with a population of 50 million people, getting a solution to such a problem is not easy and becomes an issue that requires a different approach compared to the one jobless person out of a population of 100, 000. To be able to solve this problem, both political, as well as economic institutions of that particular society will have to be evaluated and not the character or skill of an individual or the number of jobless people. John & Guy (2002)

For instance war, different people look at war differently; there are those who will either think of how to die in the war with honor, while there are those who will try to think of ways and means of how to survive it. There are those who will think of how to use the war to improve their rank in the military or their position in society, while there are those who will think of ways and means to make money out of it. On the other hand, there are those who will think of how to bring the war to an end with minimal loss of life. Therefore, to survive the war, make money, die in it, or end it all depends on one’s values. The type of people in that war, the effect on the economy, religion, as well as family, all depend on structural issues. For instance, there is no way problems associated with leisure can be stated while overlooking those involved with work. When we reflect on marriages, matrimonial establishments are the ones that will be held responsible if the divorce rate of a particular society is as high as 250 out of every 1,000 during their first four years of marriage. This is a structural issue; despite disagreements in marriage, there has to be a way to resolve issues other than opting for divorce (Mills, 1959).

The other fine example of a structural issue is the metropolis; most of the elite class of the society will opt for a private house away from the city to avoid noise, congestion, or pollution. Most of these personal surroundings and the problems or discomforts that come with them can be solved by individuals if they are caused as a result of the metropolis. However, these solutions are only individual solutions but cannot solve public issues posed by the same city. To be able to solve these structural public issues, economic as well as political issues have to be addressed on a much bigger platform or at the national level by those in power. (Tester, 2004)

Incidences in a variety of particular milieux are mostly a result of structural changes. To be able to know the different social structures and employ them with sensibility is to be able to find linkages in the midst of a great variety of milieux. John & Guy (2002)

Varieties of Men and Women in Society

What are the major issues for the public and the key troubles of private individuals in our time today? The well-being of people can only be achieved when people cherish a set of values and do not feel threatened by them. On the other hand, panic is when all values are involved, and there is a sense of total threat all around. Most of the personal or private discomfort usually goes unattended to, much of the public depression and several decisions of vast structural importance never become public issues. (Tester, 2004)

But suppose people are neither aware of any of the cherished values nor experience any threat. In present-day society, there are many public issues as well as personal evils that are looked upon as psychiatric cases just to evade the real underlying issues. No relaxation or the ills that come with it can be comprehended as tribulations without the realization of the degree to which melancholy and apathy that comes with it now form the social as well as the personal environment of the modern-day society (Mills, 1959).


Mills, C. Wright, (1959). The sociological imagination. London: Oxford University Press.

Tester, Keith.(2004) The Social Thought of Zygmunt Bauman. Warsaw: Palgrave Macmillan.

John Steckley and Guy Kirby Letts, (2002) A critical Canadian Introduction, London, Oxford university press.

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