• Deﬁnition: Study of human society
• Explains behavior beyond individual motivation
• Sociological imagination is the ability to connect: individual biography historical
• Purpose:”make the familiar strange”
1. Make your individual experience more ordinary
2. Vice versa, make the familiar/ordinary—>strange /unique
• A nuclear family
• “Cult of Domesticity”: cult of true womanhood is a term used by some historians
to describe what they consider to have been a prevailing value system among the
upper and middle classes during the nineteenth century in the United States and
• Suburbia: the suburbs of cities and large towns considered as a whole
• shopping: social activity
• Mall: take shopping as a social experience and extend it.
• the indoor and enclosure create an intense experience.
West Edmonton mall: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Horton Plaza: San Diego
Desert Passage: LV
1 The Promise — C . Wright Mill
To be aware of the idea of social structure and to use it with sensibility is to be capable of
tracing such linkages among a great variety of milieux. To be able to do that is to posses the
sociological imagination." ---------------C . Wright Mill
“Personal troubles” & “Public issues”
Troubles: Values cherished by individual are felt by themselves to be threatened (INDIVIDUAL)
Issues: Some value cherished by publics is felt to be threatened. (INSTITUTION)
Ex. unemployment; war; marriage; city; economy
Sociology imagination: Gauge one’s own fate; self-consciousness; awakening; realize cultural
meaning of the social sciences.
Most fruitful distinction between “the personal troubles of milieu” and “the public issues of social
I. History—Facts that precede your existence
II. Biography—The Shape of your own life (choices)
III. Social Structure —facts that determines what you are able to achieve
Teenage Wasteland: Suburbia's Dead End Kids —Donna Gaines
Bergenﬁeld, New Jersey
Carbon monoxide poisoning —“quadruple(四倍的) suicide”
When individual commits suicide, it’s a personal tragedy, but when groups teenagers form a
suicide pact and successfully carry it out, suicide becomes a matter of public concern.
Scholars spoke ominously(预兆地) of “the postmodern condition,” “societal upheaval(动乱),”
Burnout Generation—frustration; distinct aura of not giving a shit.
2 April 6
in the welter of daily experience (个⼈人经历的起伏中)
How to Apply your Sociological Imagination?
- Individual biography (human behaviors and interaction) History (architectural
What changes people’s shopping behavior?
nonconsumptive entertainment experience +religious cultural social experience.
Social Stratification- David & Moore —Response by Melvin Tumin
Social stratiﬁcation may be dysfunctional for society
Consider society as something like an organism, the theory argued that this organism
has needs that must be met if it is to remain healthy.
Society’s reward: sustenance and comfort; humor and diversion; self respect and ego
expansion; social character of self
Induce people to seek positions and fulﬁll the essential duties.
If rights and perquisites of different positions in a society must be unequal, then the
society must be stratiﬁed —-Meaning of STRATIFICATION.
two factors that determine the relative rank of different positions:
a) greatest importance for the society
b) require the greatest training or talent
incumbent must, by virtue of his incumbency(任职), accomplish certain things.
These scarce and desired goods consist of the rights and prerequisites attached to, or
built into, the positions, and can be classiﬁed into those things that contribute to
3 (a) sustenance and comfort,
(b) humor and diversion
(c) self‑respect and ego expansion.
Neglect of power and statue
(d) Code of the Streets - Elijah Anderson
It wreaks havoc daily with the lives of community residents. Burgalr; carjack; drug-
related shooting; mugging.
Culture adaption to a profound lack of faith in the police and the judical system
Decent parents tend to be strict, accept mainstream value more fully and attempt to
instill them in their children.
Street parents, show a lack of consideration for others and have a rather superﬁcial
sense of family and community. Difﬁcult to reconcile their needs.
• Manifest Function=open, stated and conscious function of institution that involve the
intended recognized consequences of an aspect of society
• Latent Function=unconscious or unintended function that may reﬂect hidden purpose
of an institution
People are socialized to perform societal functions
predictable, reinforcing “don’t have revolutions all the time”
EX. public punishments reinforce the social order —> reminds people morality and
4 What are some manifest &latent function of inequality & crime/gangs in our society
Major thinker: Marx, Mills, Bourdieu (⽪皮耶·布迪厄), DuBois
World in continual struggle, with social change (not stable, consensus, endurance)
See social behavior in terms of tension between groups over power or the allocation of
Imbalance; dysfunction; symbolic cultural/political power, gender domination;
Sees individuals&groups as driven by interests, not values
People are shaped by power, coercion & authority
Change takes place all the time & may have positive consequences
EX. Laws reinforce the positions of those in power
Major thinkers: Mead, Cooley, Blumer, Goffman, *Anderson
Studies local, not large scal