C HAPTER 1
THE SOCIOLOGICAL MAGIIATIONATION
I.Why Focus on Mobile Phones?
A. Core Concept 1: Sociology is the scientific study of human activity in society.
More specifically it is the study of the social forces that affect the things people
do with and to one another.
1. Social forces: anything humans create that influence or pressure people to
interact, behave, respond, or think in certain ways.
a. The mobile phone is a human-created technology that has
transformed or will transform every aspect of life.
II.The Sociological Imagination
A. Core Concept 2: The sociological imagination is a quality of mind that allows
people to see how remote and impersonal social forces shape their life
1. Biography: all the day-to-day activities from birth to death that make up a
2. Sociological Imagination: a point of view that allows us to identify
seemingly remote and impersonal social forces and connect them to our
• Why it is important to develop sociological imagination?
• The payoff for those who acquire the sociological imagination is that
they can better understand their own biography, recognize that choices
exist, and that their choices have larger consequences for others.
3. Social facts: ideas, feelings, and ways of behaving “that possess the
remarkable property of existing outside the consciousness of the individual”
(Durkheim 1982, p. 51)
4. Currents of opinion: the state of affairs with regard to some way of being.
The intensity of these currents is broadly reflected in rates summarizing
III.Troubles and Issues
A. Core Concept 3: Sociologists distinguish between troubles, which can be
resolved by changing the individual, and issues, which can be resolved only by
addressing the social forces that created them.
1. Troubles: personal needs, problems, or difficulties that can be explained as
individual shortcomings related to motivation, attitude, ability, character, or
judgment. The resolution of a trouble, if it can indeed be resolved, lies in
changing the individual in some way.
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2. Issues: matters that can be explained only by factors outside an
individual’s control and immediate environment
3. Many people cannot see the intricate connection between their personal
situations or troubles and the larger social forces.
a. Sociological imagination: the quality of mind that enables
individuals to thing about “what is going on in the world and what may
be happening within themselves” (Mills 1959, p. 5)
IV.The Industrial Revolution
A. Core Concept 4: Sociology emerged in part as a reaction to the Industrial
Revolution, an ongoing and evolving social force that transformed society,
human behavior, and interaction in incalculable ways.
1. The Industrial Revolution transformed virtually every aspect of society.
a. Mechanization: the process of replacing human and animal muscle
as a source of power with external sources derived from burning wood,
coal, oil, and natural gas.
i. Changed how goods were produced and how people worked.
ii. Changed notions of time and space
1.Developments such as the railroad, steamship, cotton gin,
spinning jenny, running water, central heating, electricity,
telegraph and mass-circulation newspapers transformed how
people lived their daily lives and with whom they interacted.
iii. The Industrial Revolution drew people from even the most remote
parts of the globe into a process that produced unprecedented
quantities of material goods.
B. Core Concept 5: Early sociologists were witnesses to the transforming effects
of the Industrial Revolution. They offered lasting conceptual frameworks for
analyzing the ongoing social upheavals.
1. Sociology emerged as an effort to understand the dramatic and almost
immeasurable effects of the Industrial Revolution on human life across the
2. Although the early sociologists wrote in the nineteenth and early twentieth
centuries, their observations remain relevant. Because most of us living today
know only an industrialized life, we lack the insights that came from living
through the transformation.
a. Auguste Comte (1798-1857): Known as the father of positivism.
Gave sociology its name in 1839.
b. Karl Marx (1818-1883): Sought to analyze and explain how
conflict drives social change.
i. The system of production accompanying the Industrial Revolution
gave rise to two distinct classes
1.bourgeoisie: the profit-driven owners of the means of
2.proletariat: individuals who must sell their labor to the
c. Émile Durkheim (1858–1918): Focused on the division of labor
2 Sociological Imagination
i. Solidarity: the system of social ties that connects people to one
another and to the wider society
ii. The sociologist’s task is to analyze and explain solidarity and the
ties that bind people to one another.
1.Egoistic describes a state in which the ties attaching the
individual to others in the society are weak.
2.Altruistic describes a state in which the ties attaching the
individual to the group are such that the person has no life
beyond the group
3.Anomic describes a state in which the ties attaching the
individual to the group are disrupted due to dramatic changes
in economic circumstances such as a recession, a depression, or
an economic boom.
4.Fatalistic describes a state in which the ties attaching the
individual to the group involve discipline so oppressive that it
offers no chance of release.
d. Max Weber (1864–1920): Made it his task to analyze and explain
how the Industrial Revolution affected social actions—actions people
take in response to others—with emphasis on the forces that motivate
people to act.
i. He defined four important types of social actions.
1.Traditional - a goal is pursued because it was pursued in the
2.Affectional - a goal is pursued in response to an emotion, such
as revenge, love, or loyalty
3.Value-rational - a valued goal is pursued with a deep and
abiding awareness of the