The sociological imagination

Knowledge, understanding and science have ever since age Enlightenment been extremely important to mankind. A crave for interpretation of the world all around us describes a lot of the general human attention. But how about ourselves? Is it important, or even possible, to obtain a valid view of our own behavior? Are we able to describe ourselves and our very own culture - in the widened sense of the term?

In this essay, I will attempt to take a closer take a look at what sociological imagination means and just why it is significant. I'll start off giving a brief meaning of terms, which I will attempt to explore and examine further in the main body. I QUICKLY will explain the primary goals of sociology and expose possible sociological issues.

The sources I have used in this are mainly books on the reading list, which can be basic sociological works. I have also taken advantage of Anthony Giddens' book "Sociology". Besides the fact that he's one of the most famous English sociologists, I find his publication easy to read and generally an excellent launch to the knowledge. To get brief and concise meanings, I have also used Cambridge online dictionary, which I consider as "safe".

Main body

What will it mean to believe sociologically?

Sociology is, as the well-known sociable scientist Anthony Giddens defines; "the analysis of human cultural life, groups and societies" (Giddens 2001:2).

The discipline of sociology concerns issues such as types of societies, the idea of culture, cultural variations, socialisation and globalisation - to begin with. One could keep on mentioning aspects, but a sociologist is, around said, basically considering everything human beings do - consciously or sub-consciously (Giddens, 2001).

Giddens claims that it is a "dazzling" project, because it is so "close"; it is about our own interpersonal behaviour. And this manifestation may be i'm all over this - as it is old reports that finding oneself from others perspective can be rather difficult.

The Cambridge online dictionary defines imagination as: "the ability to form pictures in your brain (. . . ) and the capability to think of new ideas" (http://dictionary. cambridge. org).

The sociological thoughts is about aiming to identify, interpret and verify the real human life at different phases, different cultures, in several parts of the planet - by looking at its individuals at lifestyle basis. We can then, maybe, understand the bigger historical context of human cultural life (Mills, 1959).

Research is a large part of sociological work, and sociologists use different methods to explore different concerns. Relevant solutions may be comparative (one social context to some other), developmental (present vs. days gone by), empirical (by requesting how), theoretical (understanding of theory) and factual (basic, turned out issues) types of question (Giddens, 2001).

According to Mills, one of the most central items of the creativeness is the ability to shift in one perspective to another, to see the complexity in all studies: from a microsociological view to an view of overall world history (Mills, 1959). Relating to that, Mills emphasize the hyperlink between what he message or calls "personal troubles" and "public issues", and argues that this is a simple tool of most sociologists. Imagine a guy loses his job. Even though he may feel it's the end of the world, it is really a non-existing problem for people in general. But how about when three million people in a country lose their job? That will without doubt result in a whole lot of problems in this society (Mills, 1959). A lessening personal market equals no shopping, no shopping means a dropping market, a falling market brings about higher unemployment. Voil - a vicious group.

So what is the purpose of sociologists? "While the sociologist cannot solve any of these functional problems - at least not by himself - he may (. . . ) produce an important contribution to make their understanding and solution" (Wirth 1938:24). In other words: A sociologist can put concentrate on these elements and try to expose essential links inside our societies.

What sorts of troubles may a sociologist encounter?

Many sociologists did different kinds of social examination in the past hundreds of years, and the receptions have been varying. Not surprisingly, a highly relevant element in all sociological work is the factor of evidence. The normal denominator of most technology work is validity, as it also creates the key difference from fiction. But what is "the truth"? How do we be certain a social research is dependable? Who gets the right to specify what is right observation and exactly what is a incorrect one?

One well-known evaluation is Michael Young and Peter Willmott's e book "Family and kinship in East London", which concerns the urban working category and the government's property coverage in the post-war years. As the writers say themselves; "we can only just report what people say, which is definitely not the same as what they do" (Young & Willmott 1957: 20).

No hesitation - sociology is a intricate and very sensitive area, as it touches our own way of living, ideas, beliefs and choices. That's also maybe one of why more and more people find it extremely interesting.

"Serious differences among social scientists occur not between those who observe without considering and those who would think without observing; the dissimilarities have rather to do with what types of thinking, what sorts of observing, and what varieties of links, if any, there are between them" (Mills 1959:42)


(In this essay I have shown the meaning - and discussed the goals - of the sociological imagination. I have also exposed possible encountering troubles regarding the knowledge of sociology. ) Not necessarily?

The sociological imagination is approximately reflecting upon our very own social behaviour and cultural practices. It is in essence to place a question tag about all the things we do inside our everyday activity often without even noticing.

According to Charles Wright Mills, the capability to alter between different details of view is one of the significant skills about interpersonal scientist. In other words, it is valuable to see the website link between personal problems and big issues of the society.

Sociology can be handy in anticipated to make us aware of cultural distinctions, analyse and evaluate our political contemporary society and last but not least, raise the overall self-understanding.

Reference list


  • Giddens, Anthony, 2001. Sociology. 4th edition. Cambridge/Oxford: Polity Press/ Blackwell Web publishers.
  • Mills, Charles Wright, 1970. The sociological creativeness. 2nd edition. THE UK: Pelican Books
  • Young, Michael & Willmott, Peter 1990. Family and kinship in East London. 4th release. London: Penguin Books.
  • Wirth, L. , 1938. Urbanism as a means of life. The North american Journal of Sociology, Vol. 44 (No. 1), p. 1-24.
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