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.
1. Choose ONE of the following issues:
* Being a homeless person and the broader issue of poverty in society
* Being unemployed and the impact of unemployment as a broad issue
* Being an unmarried pregnant teenager and the impact that unmarried teen pregnancy has on society
* Being an alcoholic or drug addict and the broader impact of alcoholism/drug addiction on society
2. Use your sociological imagination to discuss the connection between individual experiences and the social impact of the issue you chose.
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OTA 105878/Xenia Jones
Sociological Imagination Exercise: Teenage Pregnancy
"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."
- C. Wright Mills, 1959
"Teen pregnancy is one of the most difficult experiences a young person might ever face ... It can create an emotional crisis resulting in feelings of shame and fear, and it may appear that you will crumble under pressures in your environment...finding help may seem an impossible task."
- teenpregnancy.com, 2010
As individuals, we are social agents in society. Society is a dynamic system of social agents and social agencies (structures that allow for socialization to happen) allowing for the exercise of social exchange that leads to culture and identity creation. People on their own affect society just as society affects them. In a social setting, individuals are members of groups - they are either primary (intimate, informal and familiar groups like family and circle of friends), secondary (bigger, either formal or semiformal groups like school and the workplace/organization) or referential (organizations that affirm personality and identity that one joins by choice like a hobby group, a library, a gym, a fan club, etc.). Society is an open system. Unlike controlled scientific studies, variables in society cannot all be accounted for making events and phenomenon in society less predictable and verifiable than in the study of the natural sciences. Hence in the natural sciences, the goal is to establish universal laws, in the social sciences, the study of society, the goal is to establish working social theories not necessarily universally applicable but applicable nonetheless according to context. Now, above we have a quote from the work of Mills, the scientist behind the notion of 'sociological imagination'. What does this have to do with the information of what and who makes up society? What does this have to do with one's self? As a social agent, we are affected by the dynamics of society. But ...
The solution is an extensive 1,854-word narrative following the APA-format that tackles the issue of teen pregnancy by applying the principle of sociological imagination. Descriptive facts are presented to show a picture of the current trends in Teen pregnancy in the US and for ethnographic detail a simulated 'case' is presented - that of 'Emma', a pregnant teen. Her narrative is an exercise in sociological imagination as it weaves the effect of her pregnancy to her family and social network. References are listed. A word version of the solution is attached for easy printing and digital use.