This reflective treatise attempts to explicitly review the concept of sociological imagination about the view of Mills. The paper will then develop an example of sociological imagination. Finally, the treatise explains how the examples are instrumental in understanding the importance of using the sociological imagination to analyze social problems.
Sociological Imagination is the intrinsic ability to surpass common view and analyze the situation as they occur in the background of informed theoretical conceptualization. This concept views the society as a platform where conflicting and friendly occurrences interact to influence behavioral inclination, norm organization, and conflicts as a result of the cut-link between order and anarchy.
Through sociological imagination, it is easy to understand behavior change and identify forces: positive or negative, that facilitate the angle of inclination towards the preset norm and values at individual and societal magnitude. This concept liberates an individual to draw an informed understanding of the past through reflection of current events (Mills 13).
Mills uses the example of unemployment to display the concept of sociological imagination. The example states that an individual who remains unemployed in a population of 100,000 employed members of a community will shift the focus of his or her unemployment to personal skills, character, or opportunities (Mills 16).
However, the same situation becomes a social issue when the number of those unemployed represents a good percentage of the population. It becomes difficult to relate the unemployment to individual skills or character. The focus may then shift to institutional challenges as the root cause of unemployment, and not character or personal skills of a few individuals (Giddens and Sutton 31).
In the above example, unemployment as a considerable percentage of the population may be a clear indication of a structural malfunction in the units that make the society self-sufficient. Unemployment becomes a structural challenge since the impacts cannot be directly related to individuals, but market dynamics (Mills 17).
Since sociological imagination shifts focus of a social issue to group dynamics in a society, the problem of unemployment as a structural breakdown in the community may catalyze the need to mark forces interacting to inspire the need for changed approach.
In the year 2012, there was a protest in Afghanistan. This was due to accusation circulating in the corners and homes of Afghan Muslims that some American soldiers in the NATO base were burning the holy Koran in what they perceive as malice and religious antagonism.
Despite spirited initiations to restore order, the NATO officials’ apology was rejected, and tension escalated into verbal onslaught and physical confrontation. An individual from the Muslim community burning a Koran may be treated as a person onslaught to the religious belief. However, the same event becomes a community concern, especially when the accused persons belong to a different culture or religious inclination.
The examples and the sociological imagination
Understanding human society requires critical analysis of cognitive values attached to practices, beliefs, and social dynamics which control and align a society towards astute of simultaneously interacting functions at macro and micro levels (Mills 12).
From the above examples, understanding sociological imagination calls for knowledge of present and past events that help to change the history of a society. In the process, at the micro level, perception of an individual is likely to adopt a reactive response exhibited in line of behavior as is the case in the above examples.
Giddens, Anthony, and Philip Sutton. Sociology. New York, NY: Polity Press, 2013. Print.
Mills, Wright. The Sociological Imagination. London, UK: Oxford University Press, 2000. Print.