Understanding the Concept of Sociological Imagination Through the Bird Eye View

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C. Wright Mills’, concept of sociological imagination is the understanding of personal problems being reflected by more global or public issues worldwide. It is thinking past your personal issues and looking at the influence it has on society.

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A good way of thinking about this concept is relating it to the idea of ‘birds eye view’. You have to be able to pull yourself out of the picture and just think from a different perspective. You need to consider macro-level problems that are represented in society, not only micro-level ones that apply to yourself. You need to incorporate history and social structures into your analyzation to get a better sense of why people do what they do. Being able to look at a situation in several different ways is a good skill to have, especially if you are a sociologist. You have to be able to place yourself into many peoples’ shoes without having any biases or underlying factors present. You should be aware and able to see how your personal problem is handled in a larger society. An individual and society are impossible to separate. You cannot have one without the other, so we should always relate our problems to larger social processes.

A private trouble from my life that I have decided to discuss is unemployment. Currently, I am unemployed. I have been looking for a job for some time now, but I haven’t found anything that meets my qualifications or requirements. Having no source of income, it is hard to live a lifestyle that I want to live. All my friends are working and able to go out and do fun activities. I skip so many events because I have to ask my parents for money most of the times. I feel at an all-time low because I have had a job since I have been 15, and now I am 21. I am not doing anything with my life currently besides online school. I am sitting at home and feel like a liability. There is a lot of stress that is put on me in finding a well-paying job. I feel the stress from many family members, as well as myself.

To interpret this personal issue as public, I can say that unemployment is a matter that many people go through. There are many effects of unemployment that may push people to do certain things. Unemployment hinders the economy entirely. It puts a lot of pressure on the government and businesses. When there is a recession, many people are without jobs, which directs to people not buying many things and supporting local businesses. It may also lead to increases in criminal activities or divorces. The stress that is being put on people can drive them to make impulsive decisions to provide for themselves or the family. This can include robberies and drug trafficking. Financial issues may start to arise between couples and can lead to the inability to solve the problems and just file for divorce.

Being unemployed may also increase homelessness within the geographic region. It may lead to increases in mental illnesses including depression or anxiety, which can further lead to drug and alcohol abuse. There are clearly many other factors that follow around the topic of unemployment for society. Even though I do not have to worry about paying a mortgage or providing for a family, other people do. Sociological imagination opens your mind to the many other greater issues within society that are faced by the same general topic, in this case unemployment. Sociological imagination is a great way to humble yourself and be grateful for the things that you are blessed with.

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