Sociological Imagination Definition Sample – Term Paper

What is sociological imagination

The sociological imagination is a term that C. Wright Mills coined to describe the need for individuals to comprehend the connection between their lives and their environments. Specifically, in Mills’ perspective, the sociological imagination is a clear awareness of the connections between the society and experience. He suggested that remote and impersonal historical forces could be related to events that happen in the lives of individuals. On further interpretation, the sociological imagination directs that for people to succeed in life, they should work hard against the negative forces that hinder their success. This essay argues that the sociological imagination could be used to attain success through pressuring people to think creatively to overcome challenges in their environments. 

The sociological imagination could be useful in helping persons succeed in their endeavors through fostering creativity. In Mills’ conceptualization, the environment and backgrounds of people have a significant bearing on their lives (Mills, 2000). This connection between the environment and people means that those who succeed are individuals who should think outside the box to overcome the possible negative forces. Persons who fail to think constructively and creatively, therefore, might fail to succeed altogether. The sociological imagination provides useful approaches to problem-solving, which is a foundation for success. 

The sociological imagination further fosters success through informing people of the need to constantly improve their environment. The fact that the environment influences the personal accomplishments of people means that they should always strive to improve such surroundings. Improving the environment, for example, could involve people transferring from their present unhelpful environments to better ones (Agnew & Duncan, 2014). In the new environments, people might meet with opportunities that would provide the stepping-stones for their success that they would have otherwise missed out if they had not relocated.  

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Lastly, the sociological imagination might influence success in individuals’ lives through training them to harness opportunities for self-improvement. Persons living in environments with histories of failure might fail to succeed if they do not learn to capitalize on opportunities that would improve their lives (PennState College of Agricultural Sciences, 2018). Therefore, the sociological imagination would be resourceful in reminding them to always be ready to take at opportunities within their environments that might better their living. In a world of scarce resources, people are required to use opportunities that come their way immensely to improve their living statuses. The opportunities, consequently, become part of the rare resources in the contemporary world that upgrade the lives of individuals. 

In conclusion, the sociological imagination provides a useful approach to success since it informs individuals to think creatively. Creative thinking provides an avenue for better problem solving that still allow them to capitalize on the opportunities for self-improvement that would otherwise be rare. The sociological imagination also informs individuals to improve their environments since the surroundings influence the levels of success that they experience. Improving the environment might increase the opportunities for self-advancement, which are quite rare in the contemporary world of scarce resources. 


Agnew, J. A., & Duncan, J. S. (Eds.). (2014). The power of place (RLE Social & Cultural Geography): Bringing together geographical and sociological imaginations. Routledge.

Mills, C. W. (2000). The sociological imagination. Oxford University Press. 

PennState College of Agricultural Sciences (2018). Sociological Imagination: A Critical Way to the World (Community, Environment, and Development: An Undergraduate Research Journal). Community, Environment, and Development: An Undergraduate Research Journal (Penn State University). Retrieved 8 March 2018, from