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Assignment 1

Open Posted By: surajrudrajnv33 Date: 22/04/2021 High School Research Paper Writing

READ: The Promise from the Sociological Imagination by CW Mills.pdf

Don't forget to refer to the Discussion Board Check List.pdf 

Finally, note that from this discussion on, you will be unable to read or comment on posts made by your peers until you have published your own response to this discussion prompt.

“The sociological imagination enables us to grasp history and biography and the relations between the two within society.  That is its task and its promise.”

That’s an ambitious agenda but, even as a beginner, you can begin to realize that promise by asking three sorts of questions: those referring to structure, history and biography. When asking these three basic questions, you need to differentiate between the two basic elements of society (biography and history).  Differentiate between the “personal troubles of the milieu” and the “public issues of structure.”

  • Troubles occur within the character of the individual and within the range of his immediate relations with others.
  • Issues have to do with matters that transcend the local environments of the individual and the range of his inner life.

Answer the following questions based on the contemporary world (large or small, local or global) that YOU live in.  You may focus on one aspect of a particular society (small-scale) or the entire society as whole.  Please be sure to indicate how you’re defining society and/or if you’re focusing on one narrow subsection of a type of society:

1. STRUCTURE: What is this structure of this particular society as a whole? What are the essential component parts? How do these parts relate to one another? How does this society differ from others?

2. HISTORY: Where does this society stand in human history?  What are the essential features of this historical period?  How did/does social change happen? What macro (large-scale, structural) trends cause social problems?

3. BIOGRAPHY: What varieties of men and women now prevail in this society and in this period? How is human behavior changing? In what ways are social characteristics shaped? Which characteristics are encouraged and which are repressed?  How is human “nature” shaped by society’s dominant institutions?

4. Write a ONE SENTENCE SUMMARY on the main point of the reading. In other words, what IS the "sociological Imagination" or sociological perspective he is outlining in the article?

Category: Business & Management Subjects: Business Communication Deadline: 24 Hours Budget: $80 - $120 Pages: 2-3 Pages (Short Assignment)

Attachment 1

Discussion Board Check – List

How can I maximize my points on discussion assignments?

1. Read the prompt carefully. 2. Exceed the minimum word count of 550-650 words (with the exception of discussion 1). 3. Read/view any and all article links and embedded videos in the prompt, if applicable. 4. Answer all the questions included in the prompt and support your claims with reference/s

to the reading/s. 5. Use details and examples from your own life and the world around you to connect the

course material with personal and current events. 6. Utilize the appropriate terminology and concepts learned in class via the required

readings, videos (if applicable) plus any articles or sources you find on your own that exemplify your point.

7. Support your statements, claims and opinions. 8. Spell-check. Grammar-check. Use proper punctuation and capitalization. Utilize

paragraphs. 9. Respond to at least two posts made by your peers. Make sure your responses are

thoughtful, intelligent and contribute to the ongoing dialogue. 10. Plan ahead and manage your time wisely.

Use this information as a check-list for each and every discussion post you submit.

Attachment 2

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The Promise C.Wright Mills

C. Wright Mills (1916-1962) was a former professor of Sociology at Columbia University. During his brief academic career, Mills became one of the best known and most controversial sociologists. He was critical of the U.S government and other social institutions where power was unfairly concentrated. He also believed that academics should be socially responsible and speak out against social injustice. The following excerpt is from Mills’ acclaimed book, The Sociological Imagination. Since its original publication in 1959, this text has been a required reading for most introductory sociology students around the world. The perspective offered by the “sociological imagination” not only compels the best sociological analyses but also enables the sociologist and the individual to distinguish between “personal troubles” and “public issues.” By separating these phenomena, we can better comprehend the sources of and solutions to social problems. This article was written in 1959 before scholars were sensitive to gender inclusivity in language. The references to masculine pronouns and men are, therefore, generic to both males and females and should be read as such. Please note that I have left the author’s original language in this selection.—Editor From The Sociological Imagination, pp.3-13. Copyright 2000 by Oxford University Press.

Nowadays men often feel that their private lives are a series of traps. They sense that within their everyday worlds, they cannot overcome their troubles, and in this feeling, they are often quite correct: What ordinary men are directly aware of and what they try to do are bounded by the private orbits in which they live; their visions and their powers are limited to close-up scenes of job, family, neighborhood; in other milieu1 , they move vicariously and remain spectators. And the more aware they become, however vaguely, of ambitions and of threats which transcend their immediate locales, the more trapped they seem to feel.

Underlying this sense of being trapped are seemingly interpersonal changes in the very structure of continent-wide societies. The facts of contemporary history are also facts about the success and failure of individual men and women. When a society is industrializes, a peasant becomes a worker; a feudal lord is liquidated or becomes a businessman. When classes rise or fall, a man is employed or unemployed; when the rate of investment goes up or down, a man takes new heart or goes broke. When wars happen, an insurance salesman becomes a rocket launcher; a store clerk, a radar man; a wife lives alone; a child grows up without a father. Neither the life of an individual nor the history of a society can be understood without understanding both.

Yet men do not usually define the troubles they endure in terms of historical change and institutional contradiction. The well-being they enjoy, they do not usually impute to the big ups and downs of the societies in which they live. Seldom aware of the intricate connection between the pattern of their own lives and the course of world history, ordinary men do not usually know what this connection means for the kinds of men they are becoming and for the kinds of history in which they might take art. They do not possess the quality of mind essential to grasp the interplay of man and society, of biography and history, of self and world. They cannot cope with their personal troubles in such ways as to control the structural transformation that usually lie behind them. Surely it is no wonder. In what periods have so many men been so totally exposed at so fast a pace to such earthquakes of change? That Americans have not known such catastrophic changes as have men and women of other societies is due to historical facts that are now quickly becoming “merely history.” The history that now affects every man is world history. Within this scene and this period, in the course of a single generation, 1/6 of mankind is transformed from all that is feudal and backward to all that is modern, advanced, and fearful. Political colonies are freed, new and les visible forms of imperialism installed. Revolutions occur; men feel the intimate grip of new kinds of authority. Totalitarian societies rise and are smashed to 1 Environment, setting

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bits or succeed fabulously. After two centuries of ascendancy, capitalism is shown up as only one way to make society into an industrial apparatus. After two centuries of hope, even formal democracy is restricted to a quite small portion of mankind. Everywhere in the underdeveloped world, ancient ways of life are broken up and vague expectations became urgent demands. Everywhere in the overdeveloped world, the means of authority and of violence become total in scope and bureaucratic in form. Humanity itself now lies before us, the super nation at either pole concentrating its most coordinated and massive efforts upon the preparation of WW III.

The very shaping of history now outpaces the ability of men to orient themselves in accordance with cherished values. And which values? Even when they do not panic, men often sense that older ways of feeling and thinking have collapsed and that newer beginnings are ambiguous to the point of moral stasis. Is it any wonder that ordinary men feel that they cannot cope with the larger worlds with which they are so suddenly confronted? That they cannot understand the meaning of their epoch for their own lives? That in defense of selfhood they become morally insensible, trying to remain altogether private men? Is it any wonder that they come to be possessed by a sense of the trap?

It is not only information that they need in this Age of Fact, information often dominates their attention and overwhelms their capacities to assimilate it. It is not only the skills of reason that they need- although their struggles to acquire these often exhaust their limited moral energy.

What they need, and what they feel they need, is quality of mind that will help them use information and to develop reason in order to achieve lucid summations of what is going on in the world and of what may be happening within themselves. It is this quality, I am going to contend, that journalists and scholars, artists and publics, scientists and editors are coming to expect of what may be called the sociological imagination.

The sociological imagination enables its possessor to understand the larger historical scene in terms of its meaning for the inner life and the external career of a variety of individuals. It enables him to take into account how individuals, in the welter of their daily experience, often become falsely conscious of their social positions. Within that welter, the framework of modern society is sought, and within that framework the psychologies of a variety of men and women are formulated. By such means the personal uneasiness of individuals is focused upon explicit troubles and the indifference of publics is transformed into involvement with public issues.

The first fruit of this imagination and the first lesson of the social science that embodies it is the idea that the individual can understand his own experience and gauge his own fate only by locating himself within this period, that he can know his chances in life only by becoming aware of those of all individuals in his circumstances. In many ways, it is a terrible lesson; in many ways a magnificent one. We do not know the limits of man’s capabilities for supreme effort or willing degradation, for agony or glee, for pleasurable brutality or the sweetness of reason. But in our time we have come to know that the limits of “human nature” are frighteningly broad. We have come to know that every individual lives, from one generation to the next, in some society; that he lives out a biography, and that he lives it out within some historical sequence. By the fact of his living he contributes, however minutely, to the shaping of this society and to the course of its history, even as he is made by society and by its historical push and shove.

The sociological imagination enables us to grasp history and biography and the relations between the two within society. That is its task and promise. To recognize this task and this promise is the mark of the classical social analyst. It is characteristic of Herbert Spencer-turgid, polysyllabic, comprehensive; of E.A. Ross-graceful, muckraking, upright; of Auguste Comte and Emile Durkheim; of the intricate and subtle Karl Mannheim. It is the quality of all that is intellectually excellent in Karl Marx; it is the clue to Thorstein Veblen’s brilliant and ironic insight, to Joseph Schumpter’s many sided constructions of reality; it is the basis of the psychological sweep of W.E.H. Lecky no less than of the profundity and clarity of Max Weber. And it is the signal of what is best in contemporary studies of man and society.

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No social study that does not come back to the problems of biography, of history and of their intersections within a society, has completed its intellectual journey. Whatever the specific problems of the classical social analysts, however limited or however broad the features of social reality they have examined, those who have been imaginatively aware of the promise of their work have consistently asked three sorts of questions [these are questions the author poses, i.e. food for thought, your homework assignment is at the END of the reading selection]:

1. What is the structure of this particular society as a whole? What are its essential components, and how are they related to one another? How does it differ from other varieties of social order? Within it, what is the meaning of any particular feature for its continuance and for its change?

2. Where does this society stand in human history? What are the mechanics by which it is changing? What is its place within and its meaning for development of humanity as a whole? How does any particular feature we are examining affect, and how it is affected by, the historical period in which it moves? And this period- what are its essential features? How does it differ from other periods? What are its characteristic ways of history making?

3. What varieties of men and women now prevail in this society and in this period? And what varieties are coming to prevail? In what ways are they selected and formed, liberated and repressed, made sensitive and blunted? What kinds of “human nature” are revealed in the conduct and character we observe in this society in this period? And what is the meaning for “human nature” of each and every feature of the society we are examining?

Whether the point of interest is a great power state or a minor literary mood, a family, a prison, a creed-these are the kinds of questions the best social analysts have asked. They are the intellectual pivots of classical studies of man in society and they are the questions inevitably raised by any mind possessing the sociological imagination. For that imagination is the capacity to shift from one perspective to another- from the political to the psychological; from examination of single family to comparative assessment of the national budgets of the world; from the theological school to the military establishment; from considerations of an oil industry to studies of contemporary poetry. It is the capacity to range from the most impersonal and remote transformations to the most intimate features of the human self and to see the relations between the two. Back of its use there is always the urge to know the social and historical meaning of the individual in the society and in the period in which he has his quality and his being.

That, in brief, is why it is by the means of the sociological imagination that men now hope to grasp what is going on in the world, and to understand what is happening in themselves as minute points of intersections of biography and history within society. In large part, contemporary man’s self-conscious view of himself as at least an outsider, if not a permanent stranger, rests upon an absorbed realization of social relativity and of the transformative power of history. The sociological imagination is the most fruitful form of this self-consciousness. By its use men whose mentalities have swept only a series of limited orbits often come to feel as if suddenly awakened in a house with which they had only supposed themselves to be familiar. Correctly or incorrectly, they often come to feel that they can now provide themselves with adequate summations, cohesive assessments, and comprehensive orientations. Older decisions that once appeared sound now seem to them products of a mind accountably dense. Their capacity for astonishment is made lively again. They acquire a new way of thinking; they experience a transvaluation of values: in a word, by their reflection and perhaps by their sensibility, they realize the cultural meaning of the social sciences.

Perhaps the most fruitful distinction with which the sociological imagination works is between “the personal troubles of the milieu” and the “public issues of social structure.” This distinction is an essential tool of the sociological imagination and a feature of all classic work in social science.

Troubles occur within the character of the individual and within the range of his immediate relations with others; they have to do with his self and with those limited areas of his

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social life of which he is directly and personally aware. Accordingly, the statement and the resolution of troubles properly lie within the individual as a biographical entity and within the scope of his immediate milieu- the social setting that is directly open to his personal experience and to some extent his willful activity. A trouble is a private matter: Values cherished by an individual are felt to him to be threatened.

Issues have to do with matters that transcend these local environments of the individual and the range of his inner life. They have to do with the organization of many such milieu into the institutions of a historical society as a whole, with the ways in which various milieu overlap and interpenetrate to form the larger structure of social and historical life. An issue is a public matter: Some value cherished by politics is felt to be threatened. Often there is a debate about what that value really is and about what it is that really threatens it. This debate is often without focus if only because it is the very nature of an issue, unlike even widespread trouble, that it cannot very well be defined in terms of the immediate and everyday environments of everyday men.

An issue, in fact, often involves a crisis in institutional arrangements, ad often too it involves what Marxists call “contradictions” or “antagonisms.” In these terms, consider unemployment. When, in a city of 100,000 only one man is unemployed, that is his personal trouble, and for its relief we properly look to the character of the man, his skills, and his immediate opportunities. But when in a nation of 50 million employees, 15 million men are unemployed, that is an issue, and we may not hope to find its solution within the range of opportunities open to any one individual. The very structure of opportunities has collapsed. Both the correct statement of the problem and the range of possible solutions require us to consider the economic and political institutions of the society, and not merely the personal situation and character of a scatter of individuals.

Consider war. The personal problem of war, when it occurs, may be how to survive it or how to die in it with honor; how to make money out of it; how to climb into the higher safety of the military apparatus; or how to contribute to the war’s termination. In short, according to one’s values, to find a set of milieu and within it to survive the war or make one’s death in it meaningful. But the structural issues of war have to do with its causes; with what types of men it throws up into command; with its effects upon economic and political, family and religious institutions, with the unorganized irresponsibility of a world of nation-states.

Consider marriage. Inside a marriage a man and a woman may experience personal troubles, but when the divorce rate during the first four years of marriage is 250 out of every 1,000 attempts, this is an indication of a structural issue having to do with institutions of marriage and the family and other institutions that bear upon them.

Or consider the metropolis-the horrible, beautiful, ugly, magnificent sprawl of the great city. For many upper-class people, the personal solution to “the problem of the city” is to have an apartment with private garage under it in the heart of the city, and forty miles out, a house by Henry Hill, garden by Garrett Eckbo, on a hundred acres of private land. In these two controlled environments-with a small staff at each and a private helicopter connection-most people could solve many of the problems of personal milieu caused by the facts of the city. But all this, however splendid, does not solve the public issues that the structural fact of the city possesses. What should be done about this wonderful monstrosity? Break it all up into scattered units, combining residence and work? Refurbish it as it stands? Or, after evacuation, dynamite and build new cities according to new plans in new places? What should those plans be? And who is to decide and to accomplish whatever choice is made? These are structural issues; to confront them and to solve them requires us to consider political and economic issues that affect innumerable milieu.

Insofar as an economy is so arranged that slumps occur, the problem of unemployment becomes incapable of personal solution. Insofar as war is inherent in the nation-state system and in the uneven industrialization of the world, the ordinary individual in his restricted milieu will be

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powerless- with or without psychiatric aid- to solve the troubles this system or lack of system imposes upon him. Insofar as the family as an institution turns women into darling little slaves and men into their chief providers and unweaned dependents, the problem of a satisfactory marriage remains incapable of purely private solution. Insofar as the overdeveloped megalopolis and the overdeveloped automobile are built-in features of the overdeveloped society, the issues of urban living will not be solved by personal ingenuity and private wealth.

What we experience in various and specific milieu, I have noted, is often caused by structural changes. Accordingly, to understand the changes of many personal milieu we are required to look beyond them. And the number and variety of such structural changes increase as the institutions within which we live become more embracingly and more intricately connected with one another. To be aware of the idea of social structure and to use it with sensibility is to be capable of tracing such linkages among a great variety of milieu. To be able to do that is to possess the sociological imagination.

Discussion

“The sociological imagination enables us to grasp history and biography and the relations between the two within society. That is its task and its promise.” That’s an ambitious agenda but, even as a beginner, you can begin to realize that promise by asking three sorts of questions: those referring to structure, history and biography. When asking these three basic questions, you need to differentiate between the two basic elements of society (biography and history). Differentiate between the “personal troubles of the milieu” and the “public issues of structure.”

• Troubles occur within the character of the individual and within the range of his immediate relations with others.

• Issues have to do with matters that transcend the local environments of the individual and the range of his inner life.

Answer the following questions based on the contemporary world (large or small, local or global). You may focus on one aspect of a particular society (small-scale) or the entire society as whole. Please be sure to indicate how you’re defining society and/or if you’re focusing on one narrow subsection of a type of society: 1. STRUCTURE: What is this structure of this particular society as a whole? What are the essential component parts? How do these parts relate to one another? How does this society differ from others? 2. HISTORY: Where does this society stand in human history? What are the essential features of this historical period? How did/does social change happen? What macro (large-scale, structural) trends cause social problems? 3. BIOGRAPHY: What varieties of men and women now prevail in this society and in this period? How is human behavior changing? In what ways are social characteristics shaped? Which characteristics are encouraged and which are repressed? How is human “nature” shaped by society’s dominant institutions?