Outline the main characteristics of the ‘Sociological Imagination Essay’ and discuss how sociologists might apply these to the study of everyday life. The sociological imagination is “a kind of interpretive imagination whichdoes not treat its subject matter like objects in the natural world. It isanthropological, historical and critical” (Holmes, Hughes, & Julian, 2003,pg.
7). These components make up the three sociological dimensions. Thehistorical facet analyses the historical context of a subject matter tobetter understand the subject in the present. The purpose of history is notonly “to study the past as an end in itself but as a way of reflecting onthe present” (Holmes et al, 2003, pg. 10).
Hence, the sociologicalimagination demands that it is not enough to examine the society merely inthe present. The cultural aspect of the sociological imagination involvesthe “learned ideas, values, knowledge, rules and customs shared by membersof a collectivity” (Holmes et al, 2003, pg 11). Culture in the sociologicalimagination allows the comprehension of why people hold certain ideas andvalues, and follows certain rules and customs. The critical aspect of thesociological imagination stipulates the initiative to analyze.Order now
Although itis, by human nature, to assume the meaning of actions carried out bypeople, C. Wright Mills claims that assumptions are not enough. Throughassumptions, many things are taken for granted and the true meaning is notrevealed. Therefore, reflection, observation and experience are the bestways to critically examine a subject matter. Having discussed the maincharacteristics of the sociological imagination, this essay will continueto discuss how sociologists, using the three sociological dimensions, mightapply it to everyday social issues, namely racism in Australia and teenagedrug use. Since the first white settlement, Australian culture has alwaysconsisted of beliefs and attitudes about race.
These racial attitudes andbeliefs have significantly influenced the development of Australiansociety. Racism is deeply embedded in Australian culture and is immenselydamaging to the society. (McConnochie, Hollinsworth, & Pettman, 1988)Racism is objectively defined as any practice of ethnic discrimination orsegregation. The historical dimension of Australian racism dates back tothe early white settlers, the British. Ignoring the fact that the land wasinhabited, and without attempting to gain consent from its inhabitants,Captain James Cook, on arrival, declared the land of New South Wales to bethe property of King George III. Thereafter, inhabitants of the land, theAborigines, progressively experienced invasion by white settlers ofmajority of the land they once possessed.
(Hollinsworth, 1998)Subsequently, by the 1920s Aborigines were seen as irrelevant by themajority of Australians. After which they experienced the implementation ofthe ‘White Australia Policy’. With this, the lives of most Aborigines weredetermined more by prejudices of white Australians rather than by law. Inthe long run, the indigenous people of Australia faced many inequalities.
(Markus, 1994) The cultural dimension exhibits the stereotype placed on theseindigenous Australians. Whereby Aborigines were perceived as being smelly,dirty, lazy ‘dole-bludgers’. Such stereotype still exists until this day. The Australian society as a whole still, whether discretely or openly,discriminates against Aborigines. Aborigines face discrimination withregards to opportunities such as employment, and are forced to tolerateinadequacy of essential resources such as water.
(Hollinsworth, 1998) Theproblem of discrimination lies in the arrogance and ignorance of thesociety at large to understand the Aboriginal culture. In critically examining this racism in all its dimensions, it isunfair to discriminate against Aborigines regarding their personal well-being, lack of education, or their lifestyle. With reference to thehistorical context of this particular race, they are not to be heldresponsible for their inability to adapt to the demands of the Australiansociety today. They were victims of pure racism.
Stripped of their land,their culture, as well as their dignity. And as a result, they are outcastsin a society of the land in which they have called home for thousands ofyears. They are smelly and dirty because of the lack of resources availableto them and they are lazy ‘dole-bludgers’ because no one will employ them. The use of drugs in our society has become a major issue of concernfor many individuals and groups in the community. As a survey shows that”among those people attending (the Taskforce drug program) were a highnumber of adolescents” (Brown, 1991, pg.
I). Today drugs are considered tobe an acceptable social phenomenon by many teenagers. In sociologicalcontexts, the term drug refers to “any chemical substance that affects bodyfunctions, mood, perception, or consciousness; .