Why is sociological imagination important
Sociological imagination can really help to achieve success. This is so because understating societal norms and its relationship t human behavior will help to have informed and beneficial decisions. Humans do not exist in a vacuum. They live and co-exist in a society that is shaped by values, norms, and belief. Human beings unavoidably interact and live together, therefore, issues that affect the society inevitably affect individual for the better or for worse. This is why it is important to be aware of and understand issues that affect the society and individual so that one does not let the social views limit his or her potential. Since our understanding of society can change the way we view the world, it is clear that this knowledge helps people to think critically and enhance the possibility of achieving success.
If one individual was to blame his failure on social ills like segregation or economic problems then there would be a lack of sociological imagination. In this case, it would be important to look at issues critical ally from a broader point of view. One person cannot be responsible for segregation; it could either be the social structures that exist in a given society. Similarly, one person cannot be able to solve the same societal ills because society is greater than the individual.
An individual who is limited to thinking that being unemployed is because of his academic lacking whereas there is a lot of other unemployed people with similar academic qualification does not think out of the box. It is given that if a country is facing problems of unemployment there is bound to be low employment. Hence there is a need to always think beyond the personal. Of course, a person may feel the need to push themselves in order to be successful or to achieve but it is eve limiting not to look at such issues from a broader viewpoint. The ultimate goal is to solve all the issues that might be limiting an individual or the society as a whole. It is thus important to note that because the society is comprised of individuals who come to live together in a village, state or country, therefore, the two cannot be dealt with separate from one another. For instance, the success of an individual ultimately brings positive results to the society. If on individual starts and grows a business then employs the people in the community, then success has been achieved. Here the individual’s problem of not having a job and the societal problem of unemployment have both been solved. However, there still may be some in the same society who will not get jobs at the same business. Thieres is not to blame themselves but have sociological imagination enough to realize that the problem is beyond themselves.
A successful personal life of individuals living together in a society eventually leads to a successful society. For the individual to be successful they must be able to identify societal problems and their roots and try to solve them to make the situation better. If and when they cannot achieve this alone, there comes the need for society to come together and use social imagination to combat the social problems.
C. Wright mills sociological imagination
Sociological imagination refines the ability to look at context from a different point of view than the one you are familiar with. The American sociologist C. Wright Mills used sociology to show that most of our problems are as a result of the society. Sociology was mainly used to change our personal issues into public and political problems. According to Mills, sociological imagination refers to being aware of the relationship between our experiences and the society.
Mills was trying to show that most of the problems that people go through in our society have social roots and are also being faced by other people. These roots are connected to the structure and changes of the society. Therefore, it is important that sociologists, and other social scientists, demonstrate why these problems have sociological causes, enabling the individual to understand how his or her biography is linked to the structure and history of society. This may hopefully help empowering individuals to transform personal unease into public issues in order to facilitate social change.
The lack of the ability to find a job, pay the mortgage or to pay the rent is often seen as the result of personal weakness, created by a person;s own errors. People therefore search for causes within themselves, internalizing the problem. However, it is highly unlikely that the various thoughts, feelings and ideas you may have had, and situations encountered in your life, are completely unique. At one time or another they have all probably been experienced by others.
Unemployment can be an extremely negative private experience, and feelings of personal failure are common when one loses a job. But when the employment rate reaches up to 30 percent, as it has in several European countries today, it cannot be seen as the result of a character flaw or weakness. When many people in society face the same problem, one must rather ask whether there is something within the structure of society that is contributing to this problem. In many countries today, unemployment may be explained by the public issue of economic downturn, caused by the subprime mortgage industry. In other words, it may rather be defined as a social problem than of one stemming from personal shortcomings.
It is important to point out that the idea of the sociological imagination should not be used as an excuse for an individual not to try harder to achieve success in life. Some people would misuse this idea as a way of running away from personal responsibility. However, in many situations a person may fail even if he tries to do everything right, like working hard, getting an education and trying to get a job.
When many people in society lack the ability to achieve success, it is important to identify the roots of the structure, such as inefficient political solutions, discrimination of certain groups and the exploitation of the labour force. Since problems like these cannot be solved by the individual alone, it is important that we use our sociological imagination and apply it in our daily lives, enabling us to change our personal situation and ultimately create a better society.