Sociology 2234E Lecture Notes - Lecture 8: The Sociological Imagination, C. Wright Mills, Fundamental Attribution Error

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Published on 15 Apr 2013
Department
Professor
Understanding and Constructing Social Order
Review: C Wright Mills and the Sociological Imagination
- The ability to understand how society influences an individuals situation and
ideally this information would allow one to change his or her situation
Fundamental Attribution Error
- When people explain individual outcomes by thinking of an individual’s
disposition as causing an outcome rather than considering the social
situation that impacts a person.
- Contribute inside factors to a situation rather than outside factors.
- For Example someone failed a test because they were stupid or unorganized.
Not because the test was hard or they stayed up all night with their sick child.
Another Example
We can view people on welfare as:
a) People who don’t want to work (Dispositional attribution about their
disposition as a person)
b) As a lack of labor market dynamics (no jobs) or a lack of child care
(Situational Attribution)
Social Psychology connects the self at the micro level to society at the macro level
Study of how the individual is shaped by society. Sociologists like Goffman often
look at society through a very small frame.
C Wright Mills 1916-1962
- Wrote the Sociological Imagination the cover of it was shown in class and it
depicts how the individual is like a puzzle piece and society is the larger
puzzle.
- Mills was a Professor at Colombia University
- Best Known for the Sociological Imagination (1959)
- He wanted people to develop their own sociological imaginations.
The Sociological Imagination: The Promise
“Enables its possessor to understand the large historical scene in terms of its
meaning for the inner life and the external career of a variety of individuals”
- Allows people to look beyond the individual
- Allows them to look at the self and the external career
Professor tells the a story about her Grandfather. He was unable to get a job during
the depression. He went to school to be a lawyer and even got the best scholarship
in Canada but after school he could not find a job. Eventually he did find a job when
the depression is over. If you just looked at the fact that he was unemployed you
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Document Summary

Review: c wright mills and the sociological imagination. The ability to understand how society influences an individuals situation and ideally this information would allow one to change his or her situation. When people explain individual outcomes by thinking of an individual"s disposition as causing an outcome rather than considering the social situation that impacts a person. Contribute inside factors to a situation rather than outside factors. For example someone failed a test because they were stupid or unorganized. Not because the test was hard or they stayed up all night with their sick child. Social psychology connects the self at the micro level to society at the macro level. Study of how the individual is shaped by society. Sociologists like goffman often look at society through a very small frame. Wrote the sociological imagination the cover of it was shown in class and it depicts how the individual is like a puzzle piece and society is the larger puzzle.

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