This term paper reviews the concepts of sociological imagination, and sociology and common sense. Sociology and common sense do and ought to interact with one another. We discuss four positions on the sociology‐common sense relation in the light of the interaction thesis and social networks. Firstly, sociology must break with common sense. The basis for sociology must be common sense. Thirdly, sociology and common sense are incomparable. Lastly, sociology and common sense are identical. The first two of these positions have other sub‐divisions. This is in terms of whether the arguments in their favor are or are not independent of one’s conceptions of sociology and common sense.
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PERSONAL CHOICE AND SOCIAL CONSTRAINT IN CLOSE RELATIONSHIPS
The concept of social networks provides a means of specifying the structure and content of one aspect of the living space, the social environment. Most social psychologists subscribe to the notion that individuals are as active in constructing their environment as they are reactive and defined by it. This gives rise to sociological imagination. The investigation of social networks suggests a level of analysis distinct from the individual or dyadic levels of analysis. These levels link the causes of behavior to personal characteristics or characteristics of specific relationships. Sociological imagination becomes some form of extension of the concept of sociology and common sense.
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AN EVALUATION OF SOCIOLOGICAL IMAGINATION
Sociological imagination is a concept that provides a framework for understanding our social world. It surpasses any common sense notion we might derive from our limited social networks and experiences. According to Mills, we cannot understand the life of an individual nor the history of a society without understanding both. The sociological imagination is making the connection between personal challenges and broader social issues. Mills identified “troubles” (personal challenges) and “issues” (larger social challenges), also known as biography, and history, respectively. Sociology and common sense encompass the limits of our experiences. Lastly, Mills’ sociological imagination allows individuals to see the relationships between events in their personal lives (biography), and events in their society (history).
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