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Sociology: concepts, individuals, elements, definitions

1).What does Mills mean by the "sociological imagination"?

A). Identify a private trouble or personal issue you are aware of, have experienced, or are experiencing. (For example, difficulty in getting a job, healthcare, childcare, divorce, rising cost of housing, rising cost of education.)

B). Discuss how the issue you identified above might actually be a larger public issue. Identify what the larger public issue might be.

C). Identify what some of the consequences or implications of this larger social issue might be for society. I.E. How will society be affected?

D). Using your sociological imagination give at least two ways of dealing with this issue at a macro level and two at the micro level. What is the difference in how one might deal with a problem if one views it from a micro perspective (personal trouble) v. a macro perspective (public issue)?

E). What prevents society from seeing this as a broader social issue?

2). Did you understand that Miner was describing the "American" ("Nacirema" spelled backwards)? Why do we not recognize this right away? What do we gain from being able to "step back" from our way of life as Miner has done? Think in terms of ethnocentrism. Identify the positive and negative aspects of ethnocentrism. How does sociology allow us to step back from our lives? What new insights do we get from being able to do this?

3). Discuss Emile Durkheim's investigation of suicide rates and how his research contributed to the development of theory. What is theory and why is it important? What did his research show us?

Solution Preview

Dear Student,
Sociology is a very interesting discipline. The subject matter/problem you posted requires a bit of heavy explaining via examples from my side so as to illustrate concepts. As such I have decided to create a very comprehensive solution for you containing 3 separate essays on each numbered topics in question. Part 1 answers your inquiry on sociological imagination and is composed of 2200 plus words as I decided that it would be best to create an example of relating the individual to the social network via a personal experience. If you have questions on this, do not hesitate to send me a message, Id be glad to help. Parts 2 & 3 tackle the problems of Nacirema & Durkheim's estbalishment of the positivist approach which is what the questions hope for you to arrive at by research. They are both written in 600 plus words each. All of these essays are written in APA format, a preferred style of paper & research writing that is expected of you in the social sciences to present your sources and references for arguments used. I did this so you can refer to it as a model in the future. Good Luck & thank you for using Brainmass. To expand on the ideas given, use the references, I included web-based ones to make them easily accessible for you.

Sincerely,
OTA 105878

Update: The solution has been restructured to help you in finding which part answers which, please check the attached file for a better presentation.

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Part 1

C. Wright Mill's Sociological Imagination

(answers No. 1 directly, briefly explaining sociological imagination defined by C. Wright Mills)

Introduction

Sociology, the social science that seeks to understand the dynamic mechanisms of the social world requires scientists who study social phenomena to ensure that the theoretical tools & assumptions/philosophies they are using to be appropriate to the challenges/tasks they face, therefore they have to be familiar with the methodologies of research & the varied theories & perspectives that are useful in highlighting the varied aspects of the social world. Before social scientists can go out into the field however, they have to imbue themselves with a perspective that allows them to establish social relations that create the seemingly invisible bonds cultures, people and societies share from individuals, groups and the bigger community. This perspective or skill of viewing the social world is termed as 'sociological imagination' and was first suggested by American sociologist C. Wright Mills in 1959. Sociology being the systematic study of society by seeking to understand & expose patterns in social stratification, relations, interaction & culture required sociologists the ability to link individual experiences to that of social institutions & other groups and to be able to isolate & identify relationships & viewpoints especially if such opinions are that of the researcher to avoid imbuing his research with a subjective viewpoint as social research is still in argument about how detached social research ought to be as social scientists are part of their own object of analysis (unlike in the natural sciences where biologists can study plant species under a microscope in a detached setting). The challenge, mainly in the social sciences is to understand the problems facing social networks, facing man & society. More than ever, ours is a world of dynamic communication & transportation, social change is inevitable economically, politically or otherwise due to globalization, relationships are established and change and status is not permanent. The research of social scientists aid governments in making policies that affect people, companies & medical institutions in creating products and health services to answer their needs and or/to make a profit. Economists must understand the pattern of demand & supply according to social behaviour as affected by social factors in order to predict & suggest financial & economic measure to governments to maintain healthy markets. The Human World, especially ours is a beehive of activity in a global scale, to see how a factory worker in Vietnam is affected by the financial crisis in the US banks and how this relates to the policy decisions of the EU and the current American actions into Pakistan is about understanding how one relates to the other hand, as Mills proposed,

"The sociological imagination enables its possessor to understand the larger historical scene in terms of its meaning for the inner life and the external career of a variety of individuals. It enables him to take into account how individuals, in the welter of their daily experience, often become falsely conscious of their social positions."

Understand that knowledge in the social sciences is situated socially & historically, what was considered as true and accepted about society in the 70's is not necessarily what is normal & accepted now, things change & unlike in the natural sciences, social theories are not universal in application, always although they apply to particular situations alone. One thing remains true though, that man builds upon the knowledge of past generations to innovate & develop and that society requires social networks to operate to maintain itself. In every sociological study, whatever the social & historical situatedness, a sociological imagination is a basic skill practiced by researchers.

Sociological Imagination Exercise

(this section answers sections A-E of question #1)

A Question of Monetary Value

(this section identifies the social problem of inequality of financial values in the world market as experienced by a traveller, answering letter 1.A)

Last year, a friend and I travelled to Indochina for 2 months of backpack travel to see the region and visit the nations of the peninsula: Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Malaysia. Malaysia I noticed was just as developed as its Western counterparts - the economy is stable & booming while politics is pretty stable and the rate of unemployment is among the lowest in the region with literacy up. People's lifestyles were just as good as that in the US. Crossing the border into Thailand however got me to notice the change. Thailand is not doubt a beautiful country, the people are friendly, the roads are great and the economy is booming but politics is unstable, hence, the last 10 years of economic boom is being threatened what with 2006' military takeover. The south of Thailand where the resort islands of Phuket & ...

Solution Summary

The solution is an extensive APA-style essay discussing the most basic and important concepts in sociology including sociological imagination, socialization, structures and agency. It also intgroduces important personas and characters, scientists that have affected the social science that is sociology including Mills, Durkheim and Miner (see original problem). The solution is in 3 extensive parts, written in the APA format and seeks to provide insight to help the student in answering the original questions from the primary post (see problem). References are provided for easy expansion, a word file, the word version of the solutionis attached for easy printing.

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