Tuesday, August 25, 2009

It's Shocking What A Sociological Imagination Can Reveal


The most major way sociology will change your way of thinking is what sociologist C. Wright Mills called a sociological Imagination. Mills calls the "sociological imagination" the merging of biography (a person's experiences) and history (where and when a person lived). So in other words, where you live and when live greatly affects the individual who you are. Obviously, a child born in Japan will be greatly influenced by Japanese culture - he will speak Japanese and acquire a taste for Japanese foods etc... This much is obvious. But in Milgram's study (revisited in the video above), he finds that we are influence in more subtle ways. Most of us would like to believe that we could not be convinced to electrocute a stranger. We would even take it personally, thinking, "I would never do that" or "that's sick" or "I think for myself - my better judgement would not let me do that." But the reality is that many of us would do that and it would not be solely our faults. We have been influenced to follow those in charge. We have been trained to be obedient and to follow status symbols. Once we begin to realize these influences are upon us, we can begin to try to unlearn them. Can you see how these subtle influences might be at play in your own life? Understanding the sociological imagination can change how you think about your own life and how we all think about the world. One group working to make social science more important and relevant is the sociological imagination group.


  1. I am not going to lie, that Milgram study and the follow up study on ABC are disturbing! But I realize how a sociological imagination helps us understand. My warning to you is: Be careful, once you open the box of sociological imagination ou can never get it all back in the box. And, I drive myself nuts thinking about these things. I wonder how I am influencing the world today? I wonder why I am like that? Is that from my parents? Is it from my school growing up or my neighborhood? Ahhhh, make it stop!

  2. It's hard to believe that only a few years ago, the new generation still has the same obedience as the one before it. Is it a genetic thing? Or are we really brainwashed to obey someone who looks like they have authority? If the "teacher" in the experiment can't see or hear the "learner", they what human connection does he have with them? But, if the teacher can see the learner, hear the learner, then the basic elements of human emotions can come into play.

  3. The experiment involved a few different scenarios, and in the last scenario they moved the experiment off campus and they allowed the "teacher" to see the learner so the emotion and personal connection should have come into play, but still about 30% went along with the testing/shocking! Maybe it is a part of our nature, but the point is that we are affected by outside forces and many of us don't want o admit that. Many want to believe we are each our own individuals and all of our choices and actions are solely dependent on ourselves.

  4. Hey Mr. S. Its Chris Ralston from 4th period. When we were in the link labs on the second day i had to create a new URL for my blog. The reason for this is because i forgot my password and login. I hope by posting this you can navigate to my blog. If you go to my blog you can see that i posted the Who am I post while in the link labs. I'm sorry for the confusion and I hope everything is worked out.

    After watching this video in class I thought it was really surprising how even though the person doing the shocking knew they were harming another person they continued. I guess I really never thought about how obedient people are naturally. I realized however that even for scientific purposes people don't realize the harm they are doing. It is disturbing how nearly 66% of people continued the shocking even though they knew it was harming another individual. Furthermore, even when brought face to face with the person they were shocking over 30% of people continued. this whole video is hard to believe. What is our world coming to?