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Introduction

Sociological Imagination In 1959, C. Wright Mills released a book entitled 'The sociological Imagination'. It was in this book that he laid out a set of guidelines of how to carry out social analysis. But for a layman, what does the term 'sociological imagination' actually mean? In his own words, Mills claimed "it is the capacity to shift from one perspective to another...the capacity to range from the most impersonal and remote transformations to the most intimate features of the human self - and to see the relations between the two of them." . Mills believed that being able to see the relationship between the ordinary lives of people and the wider social forces was the key to the sociological imagination. Fundamental to Mills' theory is the idea of 'public issues' and 'private troubles'. An individual's troubles are personal when they occur because of the person's character. Public issues, however, are a direct result of the problems within society, they affect people hugely but often the individual will assign the problem as their own personal downfall rather than as a societal problem. An ordinary man may get depressed about being unemployed and automatically accept it as his own personal trouble. ...read more.

Middle

The naturalistic explanation, for example, would assign war to man's natural aggressiveness. It explains marriage by saying that it is natural for a man and woman to fall in love, settle down, get married and have children. For the man to go out to work, the woman to stay home and care for the children, and for the children to want to live at home until roughly the age of 18. (Jones) The naturalistic explanation claims it is unnatural for any individual not to have these instincts. The fact that people within a society learn to accept these norms, values and roles (Mills. 29) without ever questioning it is called in sociological terms 'socialization'. "Deeply immersed in our daily routines, though, we hardly ever pause to think about the meaning of what we have gone through: even less often have we the opportunity to compare our private experiences with the fate of others, to see the social in the individual, the general in the particular, this is precisely what sociologists can do for us. We would them to show us how our individual biographies intertwine with the history we share with human beings." ...read more.

Conclusion

But by reading the above quote, and watching the film, there can be seen an underlying common theme. That the life we are given and expected to accept is not the only of life That it is appropriate to question 'why are we here?' and 'what is our purpose?' It is the latter part of Bauman's quote which illustrates this the most. "Suddenly the daily way of life must come under scrutiny..." It is this idea that this hamster wheel way of life is not the only way, and not the natural way. The main character of the film 'Neo' questions the meaning of his entire existence quoting "I don't like the idea that I'm not in control of my life' and eventually becomes literally detached from the illusion which is the so called 'world' in which they live. Although this may be seen as a far fetched connection, it would be interesting to see if the producers of this film meant it as a reference to the sociological idea of norms and deviance. It can be concluded that the sociological imagination is essentially a sociological state of mind. It is a method which sociologists use to deal with the analysis of information. "The quality of mind essential to grasp the interplay of man and society, of biography and history, of self and worth" (Mills. 1959) ...read more.

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