Sociological imagination is capability to understand structural basis concerning issues that affect individuals. This term refers to a form of insight that falls under the category of sociology. It is used to reflect on nature that revolves around sociology and its significance in real life. To understand the concept of sociological imagination, sociologists use different perspectives that reveal commonalities. According to Wright Mills, sociological imagination is the vibrant knowledge that links an individual experience to that of an entire community.
Sociological imagination also applies to imaginative thoughts that incorporate asking and responding to questions concerning sociology (Barkely 42). People who reason by applying aspect of sociological imagination often think of themselves with exceptions of normal routines that take place in daily life. Additionally, sociological imagination can be described as a way of comprehending social impacts in relation to our activities. This concept further implies to various things in community and their outcome. Factors that relate to sociological imagination incorporate effects, such as motives and norms. Social context involve actions that we engage in and end up affecting others in society. The activities that we participate in depend on the condition, values, and manner in which individuals around us behave.
Sociological imagination concerns shift form one view to another. It entails perceiving things in a social context by determining their mode of interaction and influence on each other. Social norms are known to shape outcomes considering what individuals need to benefit out of something. Their environment, and others whom they socialize with drive motives of such individuals. Sociological imagination is linked to activities that people do and creates an impact to society. This aspect refers to capability of perceiving things in a social manner and how individuals intermingle and manipulate each other. For an individual to be considered having sociological imagination, he must be capable of reasoning out of situation and embrace alternative point of view. This implies that sociological imagination entails viewing normal activities as new and not involving realities that happen in life.
To gain experience based on sociological imagination, an individual has to avoid personal situation, routines, and appreciate things from a wider perspective. In this context, people’s actions are perceived to be vital contrasted to acts. Sociological imagination also entails power that links troubles of individuals to public issues (Becky 109). This concept is essential as it aids in understanding larger scenes historically by portraying meaning and careers of different individuals. According to sociologist Mills, this aspect also serves as a discipline that exhibits skills and exposes response in social injustice. He further adds that sociological imagination reflects the mind as critical quality that assist people to apply information. This can be achieved by developing reasons concerning things that happen in their lives and around the globe.
My Personal Life
My name is Ka Tsun Leung, I was born and raised in Hong Kong since 1994. In 2012, I came to the United States to pursue my studies. My family consists of my dad who is a retired policeman, my mum who works at a car insurance company and my elder sister, who studies art in Hong Kong. My family and I have a special connection that is evident when we care about each other. At times my sister experienced mood disorders but we were there to ensure she heals through praying and caring for her.
As I grew up, I noticed that education system in Hong Kong was different compared to that offered in the United States. I have spent two years studying in United States and I can confirm that in Hong Kong tutors tend to announce results of students publicly while in US they keep them private. In my view, I think teachers in Hong Kong did that to motivate students who performed poorly to improve their grades (Wrights 72). The idea of announcing results publicly affected me and I opted to shift to the United States to focus more on my studies. At the beginning of academic year, all students were expected to perform well and this made me increase my efforts.
Socially, Hong Kong is a city that embraces freedom of speech among its citizens. Through the ‘Umbrella Revolution’ that was founded by a teenager, it brought together citizens who always fought to have equality and fair system in government. Contrasting health care system between US and Hong Kong, it is clear that my home city offers cheaper services. For instance, in Hong Kong clinics are all over and are filled with reliable doctors.
The reason why the two places have different health care system is due to their different sizes. Hong Kong is a small city compared to US and it is easier to seek medical attention. Contrary to United States, it is a large city with plenty of people, which makes it hard for them to be offered medical services. Analyzing the two states, it is clear that they both practice equality despite race and class of citizens.
Application of Sociological Imagination
The following reveals how sociological imagination applies to race, class and gender equality (Barkely 76).
In current society, many people associate race with traits of our skin color. Race depicts a way in which people rank each other that it often leads to segregation and inequality. Through racism, members of different origins tend to have different characteristics that are not equal. Research reveals race as an aspect that is connected to skin color of people and ethnicity. Study on sociological imagination shows that concerning race issues, blacks are likely to participate in violent crimes compared to individuals from white races. Considering factors, such as socio- economic and structures of the family, gap that depicts crime rates between white and black youth still remains different. This difference arises because the community has a negative perspective on racism that leads to stereotyping. As a result, such racism labels results to sociological imagination that affects characters of minority.
According to society and its perspective, young people who are black deviate from norms due to this negative imagination. Deviant label that the society reinforces on black race makes them to break more rules in their social life. This cycle of events further contributes to tension and reinforcement of racial feelings. This attitude in the community calls for vital measures to be taken to eradicate racism and inequality (Wrights 69).
Sociological imagination applies to class by considering aspects, such as unemployment, poverty, and lack of access to social services and health care. Socially, majority of individuals who are poor are perceived to have many issues in their families. They belong to the low class and when they incur challenges, they opt to drink alcohol or even engage in criminal activities. Based on sociological imagination, individuals at the high-class rank tend to reason that issues, which these poor people encounter, are theirs alone. According to those who are well off, they imagine that individuals in poverty situations are to be blamed for their difficulties. Contrary to this view, society needs to be positive concerning challenges that affect others. Sociological imagination connects to class by making it clear that their private issues should be made public. A good example is unemployment that affects millions of people hence viewed as public problem. Embracing private issues as public is significant because it assists individuals in lower class category to get help when need arises.
Application of sociological imagination to gender inequality enables us to view how society shapes our experiences in life. Perceiving the community in a sociological manner creates awareness among people about gender and its significance. Gender is a term that reveals social concerns, differences and levels that exist between females and males. In each community, gender is associated with diverse responsibility and mode of dressing. According to sociological imagination, individuals perceive gender differently and believe that it is a biological destiny. This implies that gender is related to performance and not who a person is based on sex. According to scholars, unseen biological traits and sociological aspects (Becky 55) determine gender identities. Physically men are strong because of their muscular characteristics but this does not mean that women are weak to discriminate them. These physical differences lead to gender inequality in community. By applying sociological imagination this can be avoided and mould a society that supports equality in gender.
Barkely, Julie. Perspectives in Sociology. London: University Press, 2010. Print.
Becky, Lyn. Sociological Imagination and Race. New York: Citadel Press, 2008. Print.
Wrights, Mills. Sociological Imagination. Washington: Sage Publications, 2012, Print.