Q. Explain the difference between the Sociological Imagination, as described by C. Wright Mills and common-sense explanations. Then through the use of examples show how each approach would explain racism.
In this essay I will attempt to examine the differences that exist between common-sense explanations and the Sociological Imagination. I will begin by defining common-sense explanations and then move on to look at the Sociological Imagination and understand how each would explain racism, using examples from crime and the judicial sector.
Common-sense explanations are ones that all of us will be familiar with in some way. It may be through personal experience or through the experience of others that we develop a common-sense explanation. They can be gained through watching television or reading articles online or in newspapers. Common-sense statements are generally accepted by society as true without needing evidence to back them up. Many appear so obvious that they require no explanation and as such they are rarely questioned. However when questioning does occur, common-sense explanations are often proved to be incorrect. Common-sense is defined as 'good sense and sound judgement in practical matters' (Oxford Dictionary). While some common-sense statements can be true and are able to be supported with evidence, it is best to examine them critically before accepting them as fact.
The Sociological Imagination is centred around critical thinking and differs vastly from from common-sense explanations. The Sociological Imagination is a concept developed by American sociologist C. Wright Mills and is used to allow sociologists to “grasp the interplay of man and society, of biography and history, of self and world” (Mills, 1959, page 4). It asks us to question how society has ended up the way it has and our own positions within society. To use our Sociological Imagination we must remove ourself from our own situation and think about society as a whole and then...