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The Sociological Imagination
For this assignment, you will write a journal entry after reflecting on a current sociological topic. Journal entries provide the writer with an opportunity to collect his or her thoughts and reflect in a less formal way than he or she would in a traditional essay.
Although a journal is not a traditional essay in format or tone, all of the elements necessary for good writing still apply, including attention to grammar, thorough proofreading and spelling checks, and presenting views in an organized paragraph structure.
You are not required to include a cover page, but if you refer to information from your textbook or other sources, be sure to provide in-text citations in accordance with APA requirements. Refer to the rubric to ensure that you address all of the requirements for the paper.
An important part of studying sociology is being able to apply the sociological imagination—or, as C. Wright Mills describes, being able to “see the strange in the familiar.”
Page 12 of your textbook states, “Specifically Mills was referring to the ability of an individual to walk in someone else’s shoes or see life from another’s perspective. He linked it to connecting our personal troubles with public issues.”
Applying the Sociological Imagination
Conceptually, the sociological imagination can be applied to nearly all behaviors. To help illustrate this point, a common example is that of drinking tea. When you look past the act of drinking tea to better see the behavior influencing this action, you can better understand that there are multiple motives. In that, the perception of drinking tea can be examined from several different perspectives, as follows:
It can be seen as a means of maintaining good health in the way that one might take daily vitamins, because the benefits of tea have been touted by health researchers.
It could be considered a tradition or ritual, as many people choose to drink tea ritualistically each day at a certain time.
It could be considered a type of drug because it contains caffeine, and therefore the drinker of the tea may have a type of an addiction.
It can be seen from the perspective of being a social activity such as “meeting for tea”—an activity that actually focuses less on the beverage and more on the activity of meeting with another person.
Interpretation and Reflection
Now, consider a behavior, routine, or tradition in your life, and think about how you can apply the sociological imagination to it. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
Going to college
Practicing a religion
Owning a pet
Playing a sport
In a 1–2-page paper, address the following prompts:
In your own words, describe the concept of sociological imagination.
Select a behavior from the list above or another behavior that you practice every day, and apply the sociological imagination by describing the behavior from 3–4 different perspectives (similar to the drinking tea example above).
Conclude your paper by discussing why you think the sociological imagination is important when studying sociology.