Sociology is a subject that studies societies and social behavior of individuals in a society. Social issues are matters that pertain to people’s lives as they interact with one another in a society. This paper seeks to discuss sociological aspects. Based on a newspaper article, the paper will explore concepts of sociological imagination and sociological perspectives.
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Summary of the newspaper article
‘Santorum, taking on Michigan, wants to talk jobs, not social issues’ is an article that was published in the New York Times magazine on February 13, 2012. The article, written by Seelye Katharine, highlighted Santorum’s political campaigns that had been successful based on social issues as political agendas.
The republican presidential hopeful, who was also facing criticism over his former remarks on a feminist movement’s position, was however changing his political agendas to addressing economic issues rather than social matters.
Sociological imagination and its contribution to the understanding between human behavior and society
Sociological imagination is an approach to understanding the scope of sociology as a subject. It is a form of critical thinking aimed at developing insights over the subject.
Sociology is a subject that offers insight into behavior of individuals and groups of people in a society and its scope covers established relationships between people in a society, the effects of such relationships on people’s interactions and society’s overall reactions to the relationships.
Sociological imagination therefore offers an approach to understanding the whole concept of how people relate in a society and how such relationships are projected to macro sociological aspects of a society.
Sociological imagination refers to the set of analytical thoughts that are applied by experts in exploring and understanding sociological aspects of people in a society. It is defined by the ability to comprehend the interaction between individuals and the society as a whole.
The imagination forms the basis of an understanding of a person’s sociological environment, both personal and general. The main concept of sociological imagination is the development of an independent approach to personal aspects of sociology and the sociological factors of a person’s external environment.
Sociological imagination therefore allows for a critical approach to understanding the society from a sober and impersonal approach. The approach develops a link between personal matters that affects individuals or small groups of people and social issues that concerns an entire society.
A precise example is the issue of divorce. Even though marriage and divorce are personal issues between spouses, their basis forms fundamental principles to the existence and stability of a society. A sociological imagination’s approach to a single divorce case would therefore be to consider the seriousness of that single case as a factor that affects the entire society.
Since the core objective of sociology is to study and develop an insight over how people behave in their societal set up, the subject develops understanding into the relationship between individuals and the society as a whole. There exists a mutual dependence between the society and behavior of members of the society.
While opinions may be held that people’s behavior defines a society, it can be understood that the society plays a very important role in shaping the behavior of its members. Cultural values and practices in a society for instance have direct impacts on people’s thoughts and actions.
This means that a person’s attitude, reaction, and behavior will largely be determined by the society from which the individual originates. This concept is in line with the principle of ‘self-belonging’ that aligns a person’s behavior to generally accepted norms of his or her society.
Similarly, people are the founding elements of a society. From this approach, its members define a society. As a result, moral and ethical values in a society will be defined as the set of practices that have been adopted by its members and accepted to be good.
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It can therefore be understood that while the society defines and largely shape the behavior of its members, personal behavior of a person is an element to the person’s entire society and may define stability of an aspect of the society.
Social imagination therefore contributes to the understanding that personal behavior and the society as a whole are related. This is because it projects personal issues as factors that determine the nature of a society.
Social imagination and the article
The concept of social imagination is directly applicable to the article. From the story, it can be identified that personal opinions and sentiments of an individual have both immediate and future impacts on the person’s society. Santorum, the subject of the story is a politician who is interested in being the next president of the United States.
Though his candidature may be a personal move for political achievement of power or for prestige, his policies as the future president, if he is elected will be felt by the United States as a society. Similarly, reception and support that the article reports for the aspirant are an indication that his candidature has an impact on his society.
The article also highlights impacts of Santorum’s sentiments against feminist movement on his candidature. While his remarks had been made from an individual’s perspective, critics have used the remarks as a tool for evaluating him for presidency.
The relationship between personal and societal interest, as illustrated by the article and in light with the principle concept of sociological imagination, identifies the story as a social issue.
Ideas and concepts of sociological perspectives
Functionalism, conflict theory, and ‘interactionism’ are the major concepts of sociological perspectives.
Functionalism, as a sociological perspective, focuses on interactions among sections or members of a society. It is also concerned with how members of a society react to sociological changes in their environment.
Conflict theory is concerned with competition among members of a society as well as leadership and power.
‘Interactionism’ on the other hand focuses on personal exchanges and relations between members of a society.
The story and sociological perspectives
The story that is based on Santorum’s political campaigns illustrates the three sociological perspectives.
‘Interactionism’ is exhibited by the aspirant’s campaigns that involve face to face rallies.
Functionalism is identified by relationships that the politician has developed with groups such as conservatives and evangelicals.
The contest for party’s nomination on the other hand illustrates the concept of conflict theory that is also identified between the aspirant and feminist movements. The perspectives therefore apply to the story.
Sociology studies people’s behavior in a society. This paper has discussed sociological imagination and sociological perspectives as elements of sociology. The paper has also identified an article on social issue and related the article’s story to sociological imagination, functionalism, conflict theory, and ‘interactionism’.