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1.7: The Sociological Imagination

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    The sociological imagination is a practice sociologists employ to help recognize and step outside one’s personal history and biography to examine a situation, issue, person, or society through an objective eye (Carl 2013). According to C. Wright Mills ([1959] 2000), the sociological imagination requires individuals to “think themselves away.” Mills suggests the sociological imagination allows us to examine people and the world from a “new” eye to understand the personal and social influences on people’s life choices and outcomes. This practice helps remove personal bias and preconceived notions and opinions to improve acceptance, consideration, and the needs of others. Sociologists must remove the blinders of self-interest and ideology to look at others and the world as they are and not as we perceive them.

    1. Consider your career goal and the professional environment you will work in. Describe a situation where you will need to use a formal observational approach to collect data or information to share with your clients or agency where you work.
    2. How might using an informal unobtrusive observational approach be helpful in the workplace as a sociological practitioner? What type of knowledge or information can you discover by observing others?
    3. Explain how either of these research approaches might improve the development of your sociological imagination or objective eye? Specifically, how might observational data help develop your sociological imagination about 1) a workplace situation, 2) co-workers, 3) a social issue, and 4) a client?

    1.7: The Sociological Imagination is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Vera Kennedy.

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