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Sociological Perspective

Sociological Perspective and Sociological Imagination

Sociological Perspective

The sociological perspective is an understanding of behavior as shaped by the groups people belong to and the interactions that occur within those groups.

Sociology is rooted in a theoretical stance called the sociological perspective, the view that human behavior is shaped by group affiliation and the social behaviors that take place within those groups. The sociological perspective is also an attempt to view social behavior neutrally and scientifically. Sociologists use this viewpoint to understand behavior by placing it within a social context.

The sociological perspective encourages sociologists to

  • Step outside of their own experience, in an attempt to understand other experiences
  • Appreciate and understand alternate viewpoints that differ from their own
  • Become aware of what is going on in the world around them
  • Look at familiar surroundings in a fresh way
  • Explore areas of society that have been ignored or misunderstood
  • Understand how humans create and change societies

Sociological Imagination

C. Wright Mills's concept of the sociological imagination encourages individuals to find and understand the links between their own lives and the broader scope of history and society.
C. Wright Mills (1916–62) was an American sociologist who wrote about the connection of the individual to society. Mills introduced the concept of the sociological imagination, an awareness of a relationship between personal experiences and larger forces of society. This recognition of a connection to a larger society ultimately shapes an individual's choices and perceptions. Being aware of this connection allows a person to transcend it, thinking about the world from a detached distance. Mills argued that the lives of individuals and the history of a society can only be fully understood by considering both of these issues and how they influence each other.