On the surface, sociology is the study of society and human behavior; yet looking deeper, it is the study of humans in groups and how they interact withone another. Sociologists look at these groups by means of the sociological perspective. This involves looking at a certain behavior like it has never been looked at it before.
When done right one can come to a deeper level of understanding about behavior. Using your Sociological Imagination Essay you are able to conceptualize how a person’s macro level, which consists of the larger aspects of life such as family and government, and their micro level, (which is the individual itself) combine in order form the person they are. Using my sociological imagination I decided to observe the library through the use of symbolic interactionism, one of four sociological perspectives.
The others included are the conflict theory, ethnomethodology, feminism and structural-functionalist. Symbolic interactionism tends to observe things by paying full attention to the micro level of sociology. Instead of focusing on broader aspects you look at things depending upon the individual and their interactions in society. Through the use of symbols we are able to assign meaning to people and things and then develop our own interpretations of those symbols. The library, like many symbols signifies silence, thought and work.
You would not walk into a library expecting to be served drinks, and to see people dancing on bookshelves. The library evokes an image of peacefulness, in which people are diligently working; yet a closer examination reveals the not so serene value of a library visit. The Saint Michael’s Library is not a mystery; it is like every other library in which I have even been. There are lots of books, computers and places for people to do work. There are round tables, square tables, rectangular tables, titled tables and flat tables.
There are cubicles and small individual rooms known as masturbation closets’. The layout of the library is pretty standard and doesn’t need much explaining. There are three floors. The basement had one small room of books and the rest is study areas. The first floor is a mix of computer labs, books, magazines and more study areas. The third floor is mostly books and of course more places to study.
Leah and I walked through the library doors, shortly after nine. We trudged up the stair anticipating the extreme pleasures of homework. We chose a small square table on the first floor. To our left was a table of four girls, to our right was two guys and next to them was two small individual cubicles occupied by a male and a female.
Leah and I began to unload our work; as she tries to get work done I began my observations. Each one of the four girls is diligently working almost as if the others do not exist. The two boys appear far from humorless as they read through magazines, laughing and making jokes about who is going to win the super bowl. My attention then drifts back to the girls on my left whom appear rejuvenated.
As they get ready to leave they are filled with excitement about the night’s basketball game and the hottest players. Looking beyond the girls I notice some other tables in the distance occupied by a group of Korean guys who appear to be isolated from the library. They are tucked into the back of the room almost hidden. Glancing around, I now notice that all the people within site are Caucasian except for the Koreans and an African-American girl who is sitting alone in the cubicle. As I watch her I notice that every time she highlights something she will stop, stare off into the distance as if she is almost allowing the information to be properly stored. Leah interrupts my thoughts.
She asks me the time. I tell her to buy a watch, expecting her to go back to work. She then demands me to listen to her paper. She reads me the paper and we begin to go off on extreme tangents of her observations (she is doing the same paper). While laughing hysterically we realize where we are.