Sociological Imagination

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The Sociological Imagination The sociological imagination is a concept that was first described by the American sociologist, C. Wright Mills, in 1959. His publication of the sociological imagination is considered a seminal piece, and is still considered relevant to society today. Through reference to the publications of C. Wright Mills, A. Giddens, M. Draper, and P. Christie, this essay will explore the sociological imagination critically and apply the various aspects of the sociological imagination to education in South Africa. This essay will also critically examine the challenge of increased suicide rates in schools in South Africa, illustrating this challenge as a ‘public issue’ and a ‘personal trouble’. In Mills’ publication, he describes the sociological imagination as “a quality of mind that will help them [humans] to 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”. (Mills, 2000, p. 5). Giddens, in his publication ‘Sociology: A brief but critical introduction’, concurs with Mills’ definition of the sociological imagination, and further states that three particular views are essential to understanding the social world: “an historical, an anthropological, and a critical sensitivity.” (Giddens, 1986, p. 13). Mills believes that the sociological imagination deals largely with two main components: the individual, and society. “Neither the life of an individual
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