Sociological Imagination

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Sociological Imagination

Wright Mills described sociological imagination as the changes in our social lives that affect us leading to private and public troubles. Due to revolution and technological advancements, social relations of individuals are transformed and a newset of challenges creep in. man, therefore, feels confined and powerless in such situations because at work they have to perform their stipulated duties, while at home they have to be family persons.

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Work-life balance has been a controversial issue in the 21stcentury with employers offering flexible work schedules to create employee family time. It has been found to positively impact productivity and employee morale. Sociological imagination requires us to adopt a way of thinking and questioning in given situations.Sociological imagination demands that we look at the world sociologically and ask about the structure of the society, the place of society in history, and the kind of people a society produces. An individual’spersonal lifeis shaped not only by their personal life experiences but also the society they live in and the historical periods to which they belong. Person troubles and public issues relate to sociology and affect an individual social thinking.

Unemployment rates are public issues because it affects many people in a society. Hence, dependency rates, crime, corruption, and prostitution as social issues arise in a society due to high unemployment rates. However, divorce is a private problem that affects a family setting, but a high divorce rate in a given society is a public issue.People who uphold societal values and morals are supported while those who deviate from them are criticized. The history of a society determines the nature of lives of the individuals in it. For example, religion as a social issue could influence behavior and morals of a society based on whether it is strongly upheld or less observed. Compassion and love in such societies reducesocial problems like poverty, unemployment, corruption, and drought.

Sociological imagination connects biography and history since certain crises and anxieties are experienced in our societies (Mills, 1959). Underdeveloped and developing economies ancient historical livelihoods are abandoned and expectations become urgent issues. For example, poverty levels are high even though such countries have many unexploited natural resources.Ones personal lifeis connected to the historical world, hence man should strive to understand the socialhistory they live in. it will be easier to relate tootherswithin and outside the society because of the values instilled insocial interactions. The society shapes our quality of thinking to enable effective handling of complex situations at home, schools, andworkplaces.

For example, it is unethical to hire or fire an employee on the basis of race, social status or gender. Modern day society has been enlightened and empowered to conquer social problems regardless of sex. Revolution and capitalism are presently affecting individuals and societal ways of livelihood. Individualism is on the rise and communalism has been shunned due to digitization and westernization.Globalization has affected sociological thinking such that peoples thinking capacities have shown them the essence of international trade and intermarriages. Even though some of the social problems like discrimination are imminent, great milestones have been attained in international relations (De Maio, 2013).

Developed economies have collaborated with developing economies to improve the quality of livelihoods through economic investments and political stability strategies. Some nations, however, feel that western countries are interfering too much with their affairs, and this has led to political strife, recession, and terrorism. People require sociological imagination to realize that what they deem as personal troubles are rooted in public issues. Treasured values in people are under threat because they feel that entrapment in their troubles makes them indifferent.

Capitalism and democracy have been emerging issues in our societies in an effort to make lives socially better (Mills, 1959). Capitalism has made economies more industrialized to foster economic growth throughemployment and exportation of finished goods. Democracy requires that basic human rights be observed as provided in a given constitution. However, there are some instances whereby Supreme Courts orders are violated, like in the case of unwarranted searches and racial profiling to identify criminals in a given society. Sociological imagination has led to the conclusion that minority groups in given communities are being discriminated against due to their race, color, or social status.Housing arrangements and employment opportunities in some societies are such that certain groups of individuals are given priority over others. Embracing diversity in a society promotes the harmoniousexistence of all groups of people and realization of talent (Hackstaff, 2010).

Information flow has been effective due digitization and technology, and the society is better placed to make informed decisions. Structural changes increase with interconnection and embracing of unity by our institutions. Sociological imagination requires stakeholders to cohabit in unison for the greater benefit of the society in the dynamic world. The values of well-being, indifference, anduneasiness determine whether a person is aware of and cherishes the values. Historically, some values since World War II have been inherited in present-daysocieties.The economiccrisis is a good example of a situation whereby sociological imagination is needed. It is both a public issue and private trouble because it affects a nations stability and quality of its citizens livelihood respectively. The cost of living for households goes high and unemployment rates increase.

Financial institutions are also affected due to fluctuating interest rates hence low investment opportunities. Sociology contributes to a better understanding of a global economic crisis. It sparks discussions on how to deal with the public issue through political interventions, nationalization of financial institutions, bailouts, andappropriate monetary policies. Individuals imaginations and opinions on the best policy differ from a society to another due to historical backgrounds.In context, the Great Recession between 2007 and 2009 was occasioned by a sharp rise in oil prices and reduced home prices. Financial institutions encountered bank runs and different stakeholders were adversely affected by the crisis. Sociological imagination is applicable in this case because some individuals thought that it was only a US problem yet it was a global crisis.

The crisis could be solved through various policies but the best action the Federal government adopted was quantitative easing (Krishnamurthy, & Foster, 2017). Despite the Great Recession, the United States regained economic stability and is still a superpower. Socially, an individuals private problem should not hinder them from achieving their goals and aspirations. In conclusion, sociological imagination as put forward by Wright Mills enables individuals in a society to think critically aboutinstances of social issues and private troubles.

Any personal situation is somehow linked to the society they live in hence the need to take on an unfamiliar perspective to deal with the crisis. Failure by a society to achieve success is attributed to social structure such as pollution, corruption, and labor force exploitation. Personal responsibility is expected of an individual in a society such that they adopt sociological imagination to solve day to day challenges. 


De Maio, F. (2013). Regression Analysis and the Sociological Imagination. Teaching Statistics, 36(2), 52-57., K. (2010). Family Genealogy: A Sociological Imagination Reveals Intersectional Relations. Sociology Compass, 4(8), 658-672., A., & Foster, T. (2017). Quantitative Easing in the Great Recession. Kellogg School Of Management Cases, 1(1), 1-23., C. (1959). The sociological imagination.New York: Oxford University Press.  

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Sociological Imagination. (2019, May 15). Retrieved November 27, 2022 , from

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