Applying the Sociological Imagination Essay Guidelines: The sociologist C. Wright Mills writes in The Sociological Imagination (1959), “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 her own experience and gauge her own fate only by locating herself within her period, that she can know her own chance in life only by becoming aware of those of all individuals in her circumstances.” Mills argues that in the effort to think critically about the social world around us, we need to use our sociological imagination to see the connections between our personal “problems” and the larger forces of history. Mills maintained throughout The Sociological Imagination that it is very difficult for most individuals in society to link their personal troubles to the socio-cultural institutions in which they live. In this paper, you are to use your sociological imagination to analyze a personal problem, past or present, connecting it to a broader social issue embedded in a social and historical context. For example, you may consider the dynamics of a personal relationship, your job or lack of a job, family dynamics, juggling work and school, drug or alcohol use/abuse, your body image, or securing school financing. Here is the assignment: 1. First, write an introductory paragraph introducing the concept of the sociological imagination, and giving a general overview of how you’ll be applying it in your paper. 2. Explain how you are dealing with a situation as a personal issue and label this section “personal explanation”; it can be in the past or present. You may think of something that is worrying you now. You can also analyze the situation of a person close to you if their experience affected you and you know it well enough personally to write in depth about it. Choose a situation that is easily explained through a variety of sociological concepts! Describe what led up to the situation, its resolution if applicable, the whys, who else is involved and what their roles are, etc. How do/did you feel and why? Describe anything else about this situation, the choices you did and didn’t make and why, etc. This section should be no longer than four paragraphs (1/2 – 1 page). 3. Next, applying your sociological imagination, explain the situation sociologically and how society at large has affected the situation. Label this section “sociological imagination;” this section will be most of your paper. Discuss the larger social forces that connect your personal situation to larger, related social issues. Use terms and concepts from the different chapters and readings (Conley textbook), the Galen College online library, discussions, and lectures. You may need to emphasize somepartsofyoursituationoverothersinordertoincludeavarietyofcomplexconcepts. Your sociological imagination analysis should include as many concepts below as are applicable: Socialization and the Construction of Reality (Conley, chapters 1; 4) How larger social events and movements (i.e. 9-11, the civil rights movements, feminist movements, LGBTQ rights movements, etc.) affected your situation (Conley, chp.18) Stratification and Class (Conley, chapter 7) Poverty and Inequality (Conley, chapter 10) Globalization and global stratification (Conley, chapters 7; 14) Religion (Conley, chapter 16) Family (Conley, chapter 12) Race & Ethnicity (Conley, chapter 9) Gender (Conley, chapter 8) How functionalism, conflict theory and/or symbolic interaction can be used to explain your situation (Conley, chapter 1) Galen College of Nursing – SOC 101 Course Syllabus – On-ground and Online – Version 4.3 11 4. Cite as many social trends and statistics from the Conley text, outside sources (from the Galen College online library), discussions, and lectures, relevant to your situation (For example, divorce rates for various social categories of people vary as do poverty rates, crime and victimization rates, suicide rates, etc. i.e., what is the statistical likelihood that you will get divorced if you are married at 16 versus at 30?). You may need to do some outside research to find relevant statistics. You may also need to research within our textbook for sections you are not required to read – make good use of the index and the online library! Cite the pages your information is from within your paper. If you desire, you may use statistics found on websites, but this is not a requirement. 5. Write a wrap-up conclusion paragraph summarizing the major finding/themes in your paper. 6. Avoid a focus on individualistic, psychological explanations about stress, personality, feelings, personal achievements and characteristics, etc. Refer specifically to information discussed in class, in the texts, and readings and link as many social trends, statistics, cultural values, social policies, or group dynamics as possible to your situation! Your grade is determined by how well you can utilize the terminology and language of sociology you are learning in this course. The following content (5 elements) must be included (see rubric): a. A personal problem/situation b. A sufficient amount of sociological terms and concepts c. A variety of terms and concepts from a wide variety of chapters and subjects (use info from at least 3 different Conley chapters and at least 1 outside source from the Galen College online library) d. Two stats and/or pieces of research from the text, readings or websites e. At least one theory Use a critical reflexive style – write in the first person and include yourself in your paper. The following format and stylistic guidelines must be included (see rubric): 4-6 pages long – shorter than 4 full pages will lose points 12-point standard font Double-space Include your name and date on the first page Number your pages Edit your work carefully for spelling and grammar. Always cite any sources you’ve used within your paper itself.
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