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Sociological Imagination and Social Phenomena

Schaefer defines the sociological imagination as "an awareness of the relationship between an individual in the wider society, both today and in the past". Let's begin our discussion this week by considering a particular scenario. You are walking down a street in your city or town and observe that more than half the people you see are overweight. Use the sociological imagination to explain your observation, noting how the sociological imagination helps us consider the causes and consequences of the things we observe in the world around us. What perspective do we gain by using the sociological imagination to explain social phenomena, like increasing obesity rates in American society?

Solution Preview

In order to answer this, we have to be able to see the impact that social forces will have on obese individuals and how these forces will shape the individual's personal experience.

(Cause) First, it has to be understood that people become obese for a number of reasons. Some make bad eating choices due to influences around them in the media, peer pressure, and society overall; some have a genetic disorder (such as a thyroid condition) which they cannot get control of; and others just lack the money to buy whole, healthy foods so they are forced to resort to cheap, fattening foods to eat meal after meal (believe it or not this is the case with all too many people who are in poverty). Having these factors under consideration, we can now apply the sociological imagination to examine these closer.

(Consequence) The perspective that can be gained from this is realizing that there is not one specific reason why people become overweight; however, everyone who is ...

Solution Summary

This solution discusses the sociological imagination and social phenomena.

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