From Personal Troubles to Social Structures
-Social structures are stable patterns of social relations. (Three levels)
-1. Microstructures: Patterns of intimate social relations formed during face-to-face interaction.
Ex. families, friendship circles, work associations.
-2. Macrostructures: Social relations lying outside your circle of intimates, including classes,
bureaucracies, and power systems. Patriarchy is the traditional system of economic inequality
within men and women.
-3. Global structures: Patters of social relations lying outside and about national level.
Including international organization, For example, finding ways to end poverty in countries.
The Sociological Imagination
-Half a century ago, C. Wright Mills (1959) called the ability to connect personal troubles to
social structures sociological imagination.
-For example, cancer, date rape, unemployment, etc.
Origins of the Sociological Imagination
-1. Scientific Revolution: Began about 1550, and encouraged the view that conclusions about
the workings of society must be based on solid evidence.
-For example, solid ideas LQFOXGH1HZWRQ¶VODZVRIPRWLRQDQG&RSHUQLFXV¶VWKHRU\WKDWWKH
earth revolves around the sun. Galileo then made an observation that fit Copernicus theory. This
is the core of the scientific method; using evidence to make a point of view.
-2. Democratic Revolution: Began about 1750 and suggested that people are responsible for
organizing society and human intervention can affect and solve social problems. However, four
hundred years ago, Europeans though God controlled social order. The American and French
Revolution proved the Europeans wrong, as they showed that people could replace unsatisfactory
-3. Industrial Revolution: Began about 1780 and often recorded as most important event in
history since the development of cities and rapid economic transformation beginning in Britain.
This led to the formation of a working class, new science and technology, and creation of
Theory, Research, and Values
-$XJXVWH&RPSWH³)DWKHURI6RFLRORJ\´-1857) tried to place the study of scientific
-He was conservative, and struggled to adapt to rapid growth in cities, early industrialization of
society in the French Revolution.
-Thus, scientific method of research and a vision of the ideal society were evident in sociology at
-Herbert Spencer (1820-1903), strongly influenced by Charles Darwin, thought society was
influenced by interdependent parts (families, governments, economy) like biological organisms
-He though that individuals struggle to survive and the fittest succeed in the survival.
-Spencer thought there should be inequality in society because that is how it is evolved. (Social