Applying the Sociological Imagination

The sociologist C. Wright Mills writes in The Sociological Imagination(1959), “The first fruit of this imagination – and the first lesson of the social science that embodies it – is the idea that the individual can understand her own experience and gauge her own fate only by locating herself within her period, that she can know her own chance in life only by becoming aware of those of all individuals in her circumstances.” Mills argues that in the effort to think critically about the social world around us, we need to use our sociological imagination to see the connections between our personal “problems” and the larger forces of history.