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    Sociological Imagination

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    According to Sociologist, C. Wright Mills, people often believe that their private lives can only be explained in terms of their personal successes and failures. They fail to see the links between their own individual lives and the society around them. The process of interpreting your individual life in the context of your community or the society in which you live is called "Sociological Imagination." Use your Sociological Imagination to discuss the unbreakable connection between individual experiences and the social impact of ONE of the following issues:

    1) Being unemployed and the impact of unemployment as a broad issue.
    2) Being an alcoholic or drug addict and the broader impact of alcoholism/drug addiction on society.
    3) Being an unmarried pregnant teenager and the impact that unmarried teen pregnancy has on society.
    4) Living in poverty and the broader issue of poverty in society.

    I need ideas and suggestions to get started. Please provide as much infromation as possible. Thank you.

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    Solution Preview

    Let's take a closer look at #2.

    2) Being an alcoholic or drug addict and the broader impact of alcoholism/drug addiction on society.

    Have you given some thought to what Mill means by your sociological imagination? I attached a chapter for you to read to refresh your memory.

    The link between being an alcoholic or drug addict and the broader impact of alcoholism/drug addiction on society is somewhat clear. We know from research that some of the correlates of alcoholism and drug addiction are related to these phenomenon (i.e., increased crime rate, welfare expenditures, lower income levels, increased expense due to more mental illnesses in this population of people, increase motor vehicle accidents, family violence, delinquency and crime in the children of addicts and the related costs to society, etc.).

    Using your sociological imagination while keeping these known correlates in mind, let's take a closer look. For one, it is a great familial, individual and economic price to society:

    1. Impact on productivity and employment

    "Alcohol and drug abuse can interfere with an individual's employment and productivity. Both drug and alcohol abuse may interfere with a person's ability to work (physical and/or mental impairment); ability to find a job (lack of skills or lack of experience); and, potentially, willingness to find a job. Wages among workers with alcohol or drug abuse problems may be lower than among similar workers without such problems. Shortfalls in productivity and employment among individuals with alcohol or drug abuse disorders accounted for estimated losses of $80.9 billion in lost productivity. Of this, it is estimated that $66.7 billion resulted from alcohol problems and $14.2 billion resulted from drug problems. These estimates were arrived at through analysis of data from the National Longitudinal Alcohol Epidemiologic Survey (NLAES; Grant et al. 1994) using the microsimulation techniques that have been used in studies of the RAND Health Insurance Experiment (e.g., Newhouse and the Health Insurance Group 1993; Manning et al. 1987; Duan 1983). The analyses reported below examine the employment and productivity effects of alcohol and drug abuse disorders" (See full article to draw on at http://www.nida.nih.gov/EconomicCosts/Chapter5a.html).

    2. Increased mental health problems for the individual and the related financial costs to society

    "The co-occurrence of alcohol or drug abuse and mental disorders has been shown to be quite common. Regier et al. (1990), using data from the ECA on persons both in institutions and in the community, estimate the lifetime prevalence of mental disorders to be 37 percent among persons with an alcohol disorder and 53 percent among persons with a drug disorder. None of the studies of the impact of drugs and alcohol on wages listed in table 5.7, however, have attempted to disentangle the effects of mental illness and alcohol or drug abuse among individuals with diagnoses of both conditions. Because mental disorders have large negative effects on wages and income (Bartel and Taubman 1979; Rice et al. 1990) and because the comorbidity of mental illness and alcohol or drug abuse is common, the true impact of alcohol and drug abuse on income may be either larger or smaller than estimated, depending on whether or not an indicator for mental illness is included in the specification. Of the studies described in table 5.7, those using data from the ECA typically have included indicators for the presence of mental disorders, whereas those using the NLSY have not" (See full article to draw on at http://www.nida.nih.gov/EconomicCosts/Chapter5a.html).

    3. Direct costs and losses in productivity related to crime, social welfare expenditures (see http://www.nida.nih.gov/EconomicCosts/Chapter6a.html), motor vehicle crashes (see http://www.nida.nih.gov/EconomicCosts/Chapter1.html#1.5), and fire destruction (see http://www.nida.nih.gov/EconomicCosts/Chapter6a.html).

    " Alcohol and ...

    Solution Summary

    Discusses the unbreakable connection between individual experiences and social impact for one specific issue e.g. being an alcoholic or drug addict and the broader impact of alcoholism/drug addiction on society.

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