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Sociological Imagination by C. Wright Mill Book Analysis

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Sociological Imagination by C. Wright Mill Book Analysis essay
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It is normal to question the purpose of one’s existence in the world. To prove this, A Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl was translated to many languages. But, to know one’s mission in life is easier said than done. It is a vague topic that a single book can’t answer all the questions in our minds. Fortunately, we are living in the period where technology is advanced. We can now research by reading different theories of prominent figures in psychology, sociology, philosophy, and other branches in social science. We have the advantage of comparing and accepting theories that we think best applies to our life. One of the renowned theories about a man’s purpose in life is C. Wright Mill’s book entitled: Sociological Imagination.

Mills introduces the book by defining sociological imagination and its promise. The chapter starts by describing first the state of man currently. Man constantly feels that he is being trapped and not in control of his personal life. Furthermore, he asserts that this feeling is related to history and a person’s biography. Man often feels trapped because he looks at his problems in his personal view only and not at the bigger picture of things which includes the society in which he is living. To illustrate this, a person might feel that his company’s bankruptcy is his fault because he is lacking the qualities in being a good boss even though he did everything to save his company without taking into consideration the current economic status of his country. He also said that men don’t have time to think where he is now in relation to the period he is in because he is busy in keeping up with the development around him. For this reason, he coined the term “sociological imagination” to help man in searching meaning for his life through looking at his society and vice versa.

Sociological imagination is used in social studies to arrive at concrete answers. These types of studies often answer these questions: What is unique in this society? How does it change? What are the effects of this society to the people? He then goes to identify two elements of social imagination, namely: trouble and issue. Troubles have something to do with a person’s own problem. It is acquired when a person feels that his values are being threatened. Based on the description, it can be concluded that this is related to the biography of a person. On the other hand, issue concerns the public. It is obtained when the public feels that their values are threatened. It usually involves institutions.
He defined well-being as the state in which the values are not threatened, crisis whenever the values are threatened, indifference when there is no presence of values and threats, and uneasiness when there is no presence of values while there are threats. The extreme case of crisis (means when all values are threatened) is called total threat of panic. Extreme case of indifference is apathy and for the uneasiness, it is deadly unspecified malaise. And in cases where the values and threats are not defined, it is considered as a problem of social science.

Social scientists are tasked to identify and explain the problems of social science. For this purpose, social scientists should use social imagination. However, some sociologists don’t know how to use this therefore, it makes their work similar to intellectual fads that is easily accepted and forgotten because it lacks the vision for future generations. It is focused only on what is applicable in their time. Conversely, sociological imagination is prominent in literary pieces and arts. Hence, literature is often studied as the basis of culture in a particular time period. It mostly encompasses the author’s views on the people and the society.

Mills goes to defend the term “sociological imagination”. He wants to name it as such because he is a sociologist. He believes that sociology has played a huge part in enlightening the people about the mind than other branches of social science. And his last evidence is he examined sociological theories in order to make sociological imagination.

Social science is defined also in this chapter. Mills prefers human disciplines than social science to avoid confusion in using the word science. Also, he wants to integrate history in social science without producing misunderstanding.

Sociological Imagination by C. Wright Mill Book Analysis essay

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