Vijay Prashad

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“We need to cultivate the imagination, for those who lack an imagination cannot know what is lacking.”. -Vijay Prashad. The Sociological Imagination . Let us imagine a traffic jam…. So what is Sociology?. Sociology. Systematic study of human societies. YOU SHOULD WRITE THIS DOWN. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

Text of Vijay Prashad

The Sociological Perspective

We need to cultivate the imagination,for those who lack an imaginationcannot know what is lacking.-Vijay PrashadThe Sociological Imagination Let us imagine a traffic jam

So what is Sociology?SociologySystematic study of human societies.YOU SHOULD WRITE THIS DOWNOR MAKE SURE YOU GET IT FROMTHE WEB SITESociologists questionwhat most otherstake for grantedabout society.-Dalton ConleyWhy is Sociology important?Sociological thinking can help us better understand society, how we fit into it, how it shapes us, and how we can change it.Sociological thinkingdeveloping a sociological imaginationis super powerful,in my opinion.

Let us startwith an easy question:Why are you here?Thinking like a sociologist meansmaking the familiar strange.-Dalton ConleySociology wontgive you all the answers.But it willhelp you ask the right questions.

TIME TO READ!C. Wright MillsThe Sociological Imagination

Remember:Reading is not about perfect understanding;reading is about learning.How Are We Going To Do This?You may read alone or with a partnerPlease do all of the following:Read the entire text for our seminar discussion on MondayAnnotate the entire text (what does annotate mean?)Write a 1-paragraph summary in your notebook of the entire textWrite at least 3 discussion questions in your notebook for our seminar on MondayAnswer the following questions in your notebook: How does C. Wright Mills define a Sociological Imagination? What does he mean by that?This must all be completed prior to Mondays seminar. I will not accept any of this late, as it is important to be prepared for our discussion.

The Sociological ImaginationAnnotationsSummariesQuestionsHow does C. Wright Mills define a Sociological Imagination?Milieu or MilieuxCultural surroundings or cultural contextNeither the life of an individualnor the history of societycan be understoodwithout understanding both.The Sociological Imagination defined:A quality of mind that will help [people] use information and develop reason in order to achieve lucid summations of what is going on in the world and what may be happening within themselves.The first fruit of this imaginationis the idea that the individual can understand [their] own experience and gauge [their] own fate only by locating [themselves] within [their] period, that [they] can know [their] own chances in life only by becoming aware of those of all individuals in [their] circumstance.In many ways it is a terrible lesson; in many ways a magnificent one.By the fact of [your] living [you contribute], however minutely, to the shaping of this society and to the course of its history, even as [you are] made by society and by its historical push and shove.Intersection of Biography and HistoryThe sociological imagination enables us to grasp history and biography and the relations between the two within society.

That is its task and its promise.Personal Troubles vs. Public IssuesExamples?

Personal TroubleOrPublic Issue?Smoking Related Deaths in the USMore deaths are caused each year by tobacco use than by all deaths from HIV, illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicides, and murders combined.300,000 to over 400,000 deaths annually (including deaths from secondhand smoke).49,400 deaths per year from secondhand smoke exposureSmoking Related Deaths in the USBased on current cigarette smoking patterns, an estimated 25 million Americans who are alive today will die prematurely from smoking-related illnesses, including 5 million people younger than 18 years of age.

Data from Centers for Disease Control and PreventionPersonal trouble or public issue?Alright, let us move on.The first wisdom of sociology is this:things are not what they seem.-Peter Berger, 1963Sociology has been called,the great myth de-bunking discipline.But thinking sociologicallyaint always easy.What might be some obstacles to developing a sociological imagination?Cultural values of individualism and free willDesire for certain rather than probable answersSocial processes are dynamic, not staticCommitment to common senseCritical nature of the disciplineWhat might be some benefits of the sociological perspective?Humanizing effectsFosters appreciation for diversity and broadens personal viewsLiberatingEmpowers people to recognize their role in making historyHelps overcome bad faithBad Faith = the belief that you have no freedomwhen people argue they dont have a choice but to follow unjust rules or do their jobOur choices may not be without consequences, but we do have choices (even if they are limited)With liberation come responsibility

What might be some benefits of the sociological perspective?Helps us understand obstacles to solving social problemsInoculates us against simple explanations of complex issuesAnyone who gives you a simple solution for a complex problem is either ignorant or lying.Remember this.