Sociological Thinking and Sociological Imagination

Topic: Sociological Imagination





Date of Submission:

Sociological Imagination

An analysis of various readings on sociology and its integration with critical thinking presents intriguing thoughts concerning the social world. The manner in which individuals view the world and their depth of analysis of the social world has immensely been altered and this has resulted in a better understanding of the sociological approach (Germov & Poole, 2010, p.19). There are various factors that have played exceptionally imperative roles in changing the perception of diverse sociological contexts in the society. The interactions between people, their innovations and technological advancements are some of the issues that have endorsed the change in the sociological perspective among people. This paper will give a reflection on some of the pertinent issues concerning the sociological issues and how the understanding of the social world by individuals has changed.

A closer analysis of the sociological gaze enables one to be acquainted with information concerning the public sociological imagination (Giddens & Griffiths, 2006, p.59) For instance, the Wikileaks founder Australian Julian Assange style of transmitting encoded information is viewed in juxtaposition to the public view. This is attributed to the fact that information is obtained illegally and transmitted to unauthorized people. This promotes insecurity and lack of confidentiality among the people. The media has been on the forefront of highlighting the negative aspects on the use of agency and structure interdependence in selling such kinds of information to the public. It can be affirmed that improvements in technology are some of the factors that have promoted the change in the perceptions of the social world. This is coupled by the activities of the media and telecommunication agencies; as they pass the information to the public concerning these sociological activities (Macionis & Plummer, 2008, p.47).

The sociological perspectives and imaginations of the people are altered using information provided by the Wikileaks website owned by Julian Assange. Given that most of the information presented concerns classified government and capitalist documents and officials, this information could be detrimental to individuals in government and entrepreneurial ranks. The information presented through the media from Wikileaks could be detrimental to the reputation and standing of some leaders or politicians in a given country (Burgmann, 2007, P.193). This could be attributed to the fact that the information presented in the media touches on certain ethical or moral issues in the societal setting. The collectivism of the public with information that could have been held back for security reasons can promote immorality, engagement in illegal activities and distortion of the moral underpinnings of the society. The eventual effect could escalate into conflicts in the society and class alienation due to the negative perceptions that could have been created by the media (as derived from Wikileaks) (Tomlinson, 2009, p.132).

The perceptions of people concerning government activities and the tasks of government officials have triggered the need to have information made available to individuals. This has also immensely affected the manner in which sociological imagination of people is structured. For instance, the secret acquisition and circulation of information to the public through Wikileaks is argued to be justifiable (Macionis & Plummer, 2008, p.83). This argument is made based on the need for people to be informed on reasons behind class inequalities and what ought to be done so as to avoid class disparities between the members of the public and govern officials. This affirmation is made in accordance with the principles of the civil rights; where individuals have a right to access information concerning the usage of public resources. It is important to note that negative information makes the public to view government officials as selfish and inhuman. This results in class stereotyping and enmity among the people in a society.

The sociological perspective has changed greatly as people place more emphasis on social facts and cohesion. The perception that the social facts are presented through the media and Wikileaks determines the manner in which people view the social world. Information derived from Wikileaks is presented to the public for their own interpretation and understanding (Burgmann, 2007, P.102). This has an implication that depending on the mores and ethical values held by the collective conscience of the people, their perspective of the sociological world will change in response to the information delivered to them. The perception of the media also changes from both the perspectives of the public and the capitalist and governmental officials. This is in relation to the fact that negative information presented to the public will make people to have more confidence in media houses than in the officials with whom information has been secretly retrieved and made available to the public through the Wikileaks and the media (Cox, Dr.Lloyd, 2008, p.99).

While most people are of the view that Assange’s mode of presenting information to the public through Wikileaks is justifiable, some are against it. The perception of this information appears to be done in an honest and free way so as to make people cognizant of the activities that occur behind the scenes, under the guidance of the governmental officials or capitalists. These statements imply that there has been a paradoxical status to the public due to the information from Wikileaks being provided to the public (Mills, 1973, p.196) People can now be informed on activities concerning corruption and the perpetuation of lies that in turn result in false ideologies and class wars. As such, individuals become composed and relaxed due to the increased interconnectedness of the sociological imagination through technologies, the media and globalization of information. This has played an imperative role in creating a new world order and better mechanisms of how people in the society actively respond to social forces and is shaped by them.

Issues relating to youths transitions and their cultural perspectives have also played countless roles in enhancing better understanding of the world and social issues. Youths have been viewed as immoral and violent in many cases; though these assertions cannot be validated. An allusion to the French Student riots of May 1968 can be compared with the French revolution of 1789 so as to be enlightened on issues concerning the youths’ transition and culture (Macionis & Plummer, 2008, p.103). The French revolution was conducted with an aim of salvaging people from the dreadful governance and inadequacies of evil people. The French Student riots in 1968 were conducted to protest against the repressive leadership that made people unemployed and perish in endless wars. The revolutions made the society to develop negative attitudes towards the youths though there have been some transitions in the society since the occurrence these revolutions.

It can be stated that insufficient appropriate and sustainable structures for proper absorption of youths into adulthood for personality development is the main reason as to why some people have ancient perceptions on youths (Burgmann, 2007, P.126). Unemployment, inadequacies in finances and public housing have made the youths to be seen as bleak, destitute and abandoned by the socioeconomics of a capitalist system. They are perceived as being the main cause of the overwhelming social fractures reflected in the society. For instance, it has been noted that the media portrays the youths as the major perpetrators of criminal offenses in the society. It is exaggerated in the media to an extent that youths and crime are synonymous; and thus created fear for the youth among the public (Cox, Dr.Lloyd, 2008, p.103). Irrespective of these affirmations, it can be deduced that the main cause for the sociological imagination created among people concerning youths is consequential from government and capitalist activities.

The government and capitalist activities are the ones that enhance the economic paradigm of the youths as consumers of new technologies and information to enhance violence and terrorism. The social constructs and its understanding by the society is attributed to the governmental inadequacies and failure by the capitalists in presenting materialistic resources that could create more job opportunities for the youths (Germov & Poole, 2010, p.22). This insinuates that “the idle hands” of the youths do not engage in violent, destructive and socially unacceptable activities. People have had diverse issues affirming that youths have become desolate, violent and unproductive in the society as they have chosen that lifestyle as a justification for their lack of economic and political empowerment in the society. These affirmations can be attributed to the recent London riots to indicate that the perceptions of the youths as violent and desolate arise from the adverse governance and poor monetary or capitalist policies set in place to promote youth employment (Mills, 1973, p.201).

Aspects relating to gender order have also altered the sociological perspectives of people and created new ways of understanding the sociological approach and imaginations. The human rights organizations have established centers where women are taught on their rights. Policies have been set up to allow equality in places of work, learning institutions and other social gatherings or organizations. This has changed the perception of women in the society to a greater extend on a global perspective. Traditionally, existence of women was determined by the activities of men; they oppressed females through gender inequality and violence. This traditional view has been changed due to the challenge and critiques by feminist activism analysis of the social scene. They have protested and fought for equal rights leading to a new set of job opportunities and authority in the sociological environment (Macionis & Plummer, 2008, p.221).

Females are perceived to be possessing equal capabilities like males and this has earned them respect in diverse social situations that they study, work and live. This has been enhanced by the introduction of legislative measures and equality for women in cases where employment and education opportunities are available, coupled with legal protection from domestic violence (Burgmann, 2007, P.183). Sociological perspectives have not been influenced based on the female’s attainment of equality alone. The involvement of women in military issues has always been accompanied with rape cases (where male soldiers defile female soldiers) and this places soldiers at risk as they are viewed as criminals regardless of the empowerment of women and implementation of regulations to protect them. This affirmation has an implication that men have been stereotyped as criminals and this has altered the sociological understanding of the world towards men (Mills, 1973, p.182).

Of the most commonly echoed aspects in the change of the sociological perspectives of the cultural, technological, economic and political issues is globalization. Globalization has immensely affected the cultural sphere of people on a global front, and this has created a different sociological approach and understanding. For instance, most of the developing countries are adopting a westernized social structure due to the penetration of Western imperialism that is coupled with globalised capitalism (Giddens & Griffiths, 2006, p. 81). These assertions imply that nations that subscribe to the western cultural issues lose their traditions and social identity. In worst cases, the interaction between western states and the developing nations promotes moral degradation as individuals engage in immoral activities such as drug abuse and trafficking, prostitution and terrorism. Initially, interaction between the western world and developing countries was seen to be advantageous as it promoted civilization. This stance has changed as cultural aspects, norms and traditions are eroded due to their associations; and this presents a negative view of these linkages between the western world and the third world nations (Cox, Dr.Lloyd, 2008, p.119).

Globalization has had tremendous effects on modernization as regards to technological advancements, economic expansion and communication among other factors. Globalization has changed the levels of economic development, polity, communication, technological and cultural advancement. Industrialization and institutionalization are also imperative aspects of globalization since they are seen all over the world. Initially, these were seen as results of modernization, but this perception has changed due to the replication of these activities in different parts of the world. Regardless of this, there is a sense of association between modernity and globalization as indicated by the industrialization and institutionalization of nations in different parts of the world. In this context, the linkage between modernity and globalization is established where modernity involves the institutionalization and industrialization of countries while globalization is the spread of these effects to many parts of the world.

Globalization has also impacted positively on political issues of many nations. Taking Australia as an example, it is noted that domestic political issues, use of majority rule (democracy) and sovereignty have facilitated unity among people so as to spearhead their economic, social, cultural and technological expansion goals (Giddens & Griffiths, 2006, p.77). This is facilitated by the involvement of people from all parts of a nation in decision making. However, globalization has had some negative implications on society and thus, altered people’s sociological perception concerning it. Globalization has led to the spread of information through the media to people who are not even related to it. This can be illustrated with the case of Wikileaks information from the website owned by Assange. Globalization has also facilitated sharing of weaponry, leading to disputes and wars among nations leading to losses of property and life.

My perception of myself has expanded as a result of the understanding of how individuals actively respond to social forces and are shaped by them. Regardless of how personal or individual a person’s experiences seem to be, they are influenced by larger social contexts such as political, economic and cultural factors that set the social context in which the individual experiences occur (Tomlinson, 2009, p.223). For instance, the various types of meals taken by people in different societies (the food cuisines) are determined by the interactions of an individual with the contemporary aspects within the environment. Sociological imagination entails a distinction between personal troubles and public issues. This has an implication that for an individual to solve a personal trouble there is a need to relate to the public issues at hand so as to get an effective remedy that can be satisfactorily imperative (Germov & Poole, 2010, p.20).

It has also dawned on me that in order to be acquainted with the information concerning sociological thinking and imagination, an analysis of the critical, structural, historical and cultural factors is needed. Sociological imagination challenges individualistic and biological accounts of social life and human behavior by placing more emphasis on how the society influences our lives and how social change takes place (Germov & Poole, 2010, p.28) Different countries and societies have diverse ways of influencing the behavioral traits of the people; this is attributed to the fact that there are differences in the cultural, historical and structural issues of each society. The broad-based aspects such as technology, economics, politics and communication are some of the major public issues that determine the nature of individual social issues faced by people within a society. From the analysis of early sociological theorists, it can be affirmed that there are transitional stages in which individuals and societies go through that shape their perception concerning the societal issues and the world at large.


Germov, J & Poole, M, 2010, Public Sociology: An Introduction to Australian Society. Edition2, Sydney: Allen & Unwin.

Mills, C, 1973, The sociological imagination. Pelican books. London: Penguin Books.

Giddens, A & Griffiths, S, 2006, Sociology. Edition5. New Zealand: Polity.

Macionis, J & Plummer, K, 2008, Sociology: A Global Introduction. Edition4New York: Pearson Prentice Hall. (accessed November 5, 2011).Burgmann, V, 2007, The Aboriginal movement in power, profit and protest: Australian social movements and globilisation. Sydney: Allen & Unwin.Cox, Dr.Lloyd, 2008, Australian Politics in Global Context. Annotated Bibliography, Department of Politics and International Relations. Macquirie University.Tomlinson, J, 2009, Globalization and Cultural Identity. Analysis, Melbourne: TGT2eC23.

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