Written by sociologist C. Wright Mills in 1959, The Sociological Imagination is a book about a concept by the same name. Within the book, Mills challenges the trends of sociological thinking of his time and encourages sociologists to use sociological imagination in order to alter their perspectives. His theories discouraged specialization; but, instead, urged sociologists to be broad based in their study and application of sociology.
The definition of sociological imagination by Mills, is
“the vivid awareness of the relationship between experience and the wider society.”
In effect, Mills is stating that sociological imagination is the ability to perceive situations and circumstances in a wide social context and observe how interactions and actions are influential upon other individuals and situations.
Virtually any behavior can have sociological imagination applied to it. An example of the application of the sociological imagination is the drinking of tea. The perception of drinking tea can be examined from several different perspectives rather than just the simple act of drinking tea.
In any case where you think about these issues or activities from different perspectives from your customary approach, this is an example of the sociological imagination.
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