Sociological Imagination Essays
We all have the imagination it lets us be creative and envision life in a new way but did you know that there is something called the sociological imagination in sociology to understand one's own self we must understand the awareness of the relationship between self and society.
The concept of the sociological imagination was presented in 1959 imagination by C Wright mills in his famous book of the same title where he states 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.
The concept is to understand the distinction between a person's troubles and public issues at what point of view does something such as unemployment or trouble finding a job shift from being a personal issue to a public issue.
If one person is unemployed that is a personal problem, if 1 million out of 10 million people cannot find employment that is a public issue according to Mills there is an intricate relationship between the individual experiences and society sociology whatever a person does is not just because it is of their own choice or personal preference.
A behaviour as simple as exercise can be looked at from multiple perspectives for example exercise can provide health benefits such as lowering blood pressure maintaining a healthy weight or send endorphins to help alleviate stress.
It can be a social interaction activity such as taking a walk with a group of friends or plane on a sports team it can increase productivity at work and benefit the company and it can inspire communities to take action by building walking biking and running trails.
So while exercise benefits the individual it also has a larger purpose in the social world a person benefits from being surrounded by a community that encourages exercise and makes it easier for a person to do so but it can also have the opposite effect if a person is surrounded by a community that does not emphasize exercise.
Practically any personal behaviour can be looked at with a sociological perspective let's take this and apply it to the very public issue of obesity in the United States or is it personal trouble,e tough question let's figure it out.
From the personal perspective, we all need to eat to live and there are many reasons other than the necessity that we gather around food celebrations such as birthdays weddings funerals job promotions and holidays or just socializing with friends often involves food.
What we eat and how much we eat is within our personal control or is it let's say a person belongs to a family that often gets together for large gatherings.
At these gatherings there are often lots of burgers chips cookies and desserts choices are limited for low-fat or healthy options after eating the family gathers around a fire and not much is done in the way of activities such as walking running or even a family-friendly game of football.
Overtime one realizes that these gatherings are contributing to the growing waistline well we can say that this is personal trouble that person is making a conscious choice on what they put into their body and are in control of what they eat while this may be true to some extent is it all within a person's control our behaviour is influenced by others and in cases such as family gatherings how might the family react if one chooses not to eat what others are eating.
Social acceptance is important even among our family we also tend to like similar foods of the people around us so we could say that we all make personal choices and are responsible for our own behaviour but what we eat and how is under time does not happen in a vacuum now that we blame the family for choices but that choices are influenced by the people around us.
Let's take this a step further and ask ourselves what else may influence a person becoming obese and when does a personal problem turn into a larger social issue according to the Centres for Disease Control approximately 35% of the United States adult population is considered obese that percentage bumps up to 69% when we consider all adults who are also overweight.
Social structures that contribute to obesity include food deserts which are areas of the United States that do not have access to the healthy whole and fresh foods and can be found in both urban and rural areas these are places where it is difficult to grow healthy food locally and there little to no access to local markets.
That would carry such items then there are government subsidies research shows that less than 1% of subsidies by the United States government goes towards the production of fresh fruits and vegetables while the majority of the subsidies are given for meat dairy and grain production this means that prices of healthy foods are significantly more expensive than the prices of unhealthy foods.
we are also biologically driven to get the biggest energy bang for our buck so if we have $5 in our pockets and are hungry we are more likely going to purchase $5 in fast food rather than $5 for a bag of apples while these are not the only social structures that contribute to obesity as a social problem.
They give a clearer picture of how society contributes to this and of course, this creates more social issues currently we spend approximately 147 billion dollars on illnesses and diseases related to obesity this creates even more issues when the cost of health care and health insurance increases because of obesity-related illness and disease.
So we can say that society influences a person's behaviour and that person's behaviour contributes to a social issue what is another issue that you have typically described as personal trouble that also has social factors that contribute to it.
How do social structures such as government economy education and religion contribute to social problems and how does the sociological imagination help us examine human behaviour.
Thank you soo much
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