The Sociological Imagination
This essay is aimed to help understand well sociological imagination and its use in everyday life. However, there are a lot of unpredictable cases that cannot be explained without sociological imagination. Speaking about girls’ violence, it is impossible to justify any offense. However, observing some sociological events, tone can change his/her point of view completely. The girls do not want to be violent, but sometimes, they do not have a choice. Therefore, violence against girls provokes girls’ violence.
Sociological Imagination Definition
The term sociological imagination appeared in 1959. C. Wright Mills determined a type of insight as sociological imagination. He used this term to explain the particularities of sociology and its relevance in everyday life (Wikipedia).
Sociologists do not share the same definition of sociological imagination. There exist few types of definitions.
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Sociological Imagination by C. W. Mills
C. W. Mills insisted that sociological imagination is "the vivid awareness of the relationship between experience and the wider society." Some scientists consider sociological imagination as an application of imaginative thought for asking and answering sociological questions. However, the main concepts of Mills’ sociological imagination (SI) are presented in this essay. He argues that the SI is aimed at underlining the persons’ role in society. The SI is required to understand the particularities of society in everyday life and historical conditions. Moreover, SI should determine the forces that prompted such conditions for the definite society. Without this information, individuals can't understand society and one’s role in it. Only sociological imagination might help provide insight. This allows the individual to identify and understand some larger forces within the society and the way these forces interact and influence the individuals’ lives (Mills, 1959:5). Mills insists that without SI, a person is isolated from society and is unable to extend one’s true self. Only SI might liberate the person from such isolation by giving him\her knowledge about how to place life in perspective. Such a perspective includes either individual or contemporary situations. In addition, it is possible to see the history of involving such a contemporary situation and the interaction of both.
Mills’ sociological imagination has moral values. According to his concept, moral value is the stem of either individual or society. Admittedly, Mills determined ‘individual troubles’ as the troubles and problems that relate to an individual only. The SI enables the individual to see that most of those troubles and problems are caused by society’s structure or institutions. Here, it is seen that the lack of insight enables one to see that one’s problems have not individual but society character. The only way to solve this problem is that, what Mills called ‘the public issue of sociological structure’ (Mills, 1959:8). Knowing the SI, a person might see the true source of his\ her problems and join forces with those who shared the same trouble as well.
Mills’ sociological imagination is widely used to understand contemporary society. More often, people tend to think through sociological imagination that the troubles that happened to them are more social than the individual.
Sociological Imagination by Laurie Schaffner
According to Laurie Schaffner, there has been an increase in girls’ arrests for violent crimes, and there is a current concern that young women are perpetrating more and more violent acts in contemporary society. She argues that society must acknowledge the underlying causes of girls’ violence: young women who commit a crime often have experienced extreme physical and emotional violence.
In March 2005, 44 girls were tied up because of their violent offenses in Cook Country Juvenile Detention Center. 50 % of them were detained due to violent offenses they have made. 4 of them were automatically transferred to adult criminal court because of their charging with serious felonies; 6 of them were charged with the ‘Domestic Battery’, proving police suspicion as for their perpetration of intimate or family violence. Schaffner determines the framing of girls’ violence as a ‘domestic battery’, the term used to express wife-beating. The discretionary power that adults deploy results in the raise of the arrests and adjudication for violent offenses among girls (Schaffner, 2005: 3).
The frequency of girls’ crimes made judges look at them as if they are aggressive ‘liars’, and they are ‘violent. Some social and personal aspects make girls aggressive busting the epidemic of violence. Nightly news as well as headlines all over the nation describe young white women as ‘mean girls’ in the time when colored women are considered to be the ‘bad girls gone wild’ as if they are the modern predators.
Young women were always involved in the fight, but nowadays, it happens more often than earlier. Therefore, the researches show that there are reasons that make girls violent. These reasons might be classified into ‘public issues’ and ‘personal troubles’ as well. However, the main reason why girls’ violence appeared is that the violence against girls provokes girls’ violence. Some ‘personal troubles’ make girls aggressive and violent. For instance, the girl was at mercy of an older bad man preying upon her or her inattentive parents who did not bother about her teenage socialization. Girls were born in pre-existing social conditions which they could not determine. Therefore, they should learn how to survive under such conditions. Sexism, poverty, and racism are the most important of them. For example, the number of young people living in poverty increases year after year. 33% of young Americans live in poverty while the blacks deal with poverty and racism in addition.
Such conditions make girls’ sociological imagination poor, and they cannot even represent their life under comfortable circumstances. According to Schaffner, the constant feeling of a lack of opportunities, abilities for realization, and impasse make young people, especially girls, extra aggressive and violent.
In conclusion, it would be necessary to say that aggression brings aggression. If the person is living under constant sexual, racial, and poor iniquity, this makes great changes in one’s head. The essay proves that it is compulsory to consider conditions under which the girl lived and only after that to judge or justify her. Anyway, if “personal troubles” harmed a girl’s psychology, it is very hard to change her way of thinking. However, sociological imagination might help a person better understand the members of other castes and their actions as well.
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