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Finally, note that from this discussion on, you will be unable to read or comment on posts made by your peers until you have published your own response to this discussion prompt.
“The sociological imagination enables us to grasp history and biography and the relations between the two within society. That is its task and its promise.”
That’s an ambitious agenda but, even as a beginner, you can begin to realize that promise by asking three sorts of questions: those referring to structure, history and biography. When asking these three basic questions, you need to differentiate between the two basic elements of society (biography and history). Differentiate between the “personal troubles of the milieu” and the “public issues of structure.”
- Troubles occur within the character of the individual and within the range of his immediate relations with others.
- Issues have to do with matters that transcend the local environments of the individual and the range of his inner life.
Answer the following questions based on the contemporary world (large or small, local or global) that YOU live in. You may focus on one aspect of a particular society (small-scale) or the entire society as whole. Please be sure to indicate how you’re defining society and/or if you’re focusing on one narrow subsection of a type of society:
1. STRUCTURE: What is this structure of this particular society as a whole? What are the essential component parts? How do these parts relate to one another? How does this society differ from others?
2. HISTORY: Where does this society stand in human history? What are the essential features of this historical period? How did/does social change happen? What macro (large-scale, structural) trends cause social problems?
3. BIOGRAPHY: What varieties of men and women now prevail in this society and in this period? How is human behavior changing? In what ways are social characteristics shaped? Which characteristics are encouraged and which are repressed? How is human “nature” shaped by society’s dominant institutions?
4. Write a ONE SENTENCE SUMMARY on the main point of the reading. In other words, what IS the “sociological Imagination” or sociological perspective he is outlining in the article?