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University of Toronto St. George
Bonnie Fox

W1 SOC357H Wright Mills: “the sociological imagination”  ability to see how to see the personal and impersonal connects/ you can’t understand your own personal individual life, unless you see how it is shaped by the sociological context and how it can be similar to other people  Terrible and magnificent experience: you’re a product of your social environment vs. your are not alone in your life, “not just you”, so you can do something about  Understand how history and biography is link/ a degree of agency and choice, what people do in relation to history shapes people’s biography and vise versa (the great depression and the low birth rate)  Connection between personal trouble and public issue: (low employment rate for youth in Canada)  Life course = a social product, shaped by the society you live in and where you are in society (gender, wealth, ethnicity) and societies are not static (changes over time), people have choices to make (limited for certain people) Elder: What is the life course [“a pattern social define, age graded, events and roles which is subject to historical change in culture and social structures”]  Principal of life course analysis: people’s lives are not random, embed and shape by historical events (in line with Mills), the society in which people live make a difference.  Chronological age make a huge difference in current society (limits what you can do, school, work, drink…) vs. in hunter and gathering society (age does not limit anything)  Lives are lived interdependently  the family you were born to (wealth, single…), relationships to family member have an impact on what happens in your life (whether you marry, relationships with co-workers…) A lot of social history has effect directly on you but also on people around and close to you  Individuals can start their own life course; we have a certain level of agency and some degree of choice. This also affect how the life course unfolds Elder: studies with these principles the life of the “children of the Great depression”. Looked at two birth cohort (Oakland and Berkley)  Cohort: a set of people who have some socially experience at the same time (the same time: may be narrow or broader – a specific year or a period of time)  Date  age Event (social conditions at the time + event of person’s life)  Just several years of difference but t
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