Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Your Sociological Imagination

The "sociological imagination" is an important theme throughout our semester. The idea of the sociological imagination was developed by C. Wright Mills who said that having a sociological imagination helps one to see the connection between history and biography. That is, who we are (our biography) is determined by where and when we live (history).

The Outliers reading provides an example of how the people of Roseto were affected by where and when they live. Because they lived in the town of Roseto at that time, they lived in a way that affected them (without even knowing it) so that they had a much lower chance of getting heart disease and living longer than the rest of the country.

Think about your plans for the weekend or what you brought for lunch.  How is it affected by where and when you live?  What are the influences shaping your plans and what you eat?  Do you see how it is not simply your choice?

Another way to examine the connection of biography to history is through the Beloit Mindset list. Every year, Beloit College publishes a list of how the current year's freshmen will experience and have experienced the world differently. A couple examples of this are from the NY Times: Here is an article about students not writing in cursive. And, this link is about the changing role of the wristwatch.  Both show that being born in a different time means students will experience the world differently.  This might sound obvious, but there is a tendency for people to think that they are simply who they are regardless of time or place.  Something you can write about is how kids being born today might experience the world differently than you have.  Or, how might kids being born in 2013 be influenced differently than you have?  And yet another way to think about this is, how might you have been different if you grew up somewhere else?  Especially for those of you who have moved, try to imagine what your life would be if you still lived somewhere else.

Another example of the sociological imagination might be reflected in how different generations think differently about the world. You might remember this pepsi ad that shows the way different generations might think about the world differently.

1 comment:

  1. http://zenpencils.com/comic/92-chris-guillebeau-11-ways-to-be-average/
    found a comic that deals with social norms. thought this related to class.