Sociological imagination

To be a sociologist is to ask questions about how we as individuals affect and are affected by the social world around us. To be a sociologist of gender is to examine how the private experiences of men and women are similar to the experiences of other people of the same gender or sex.  When we think like this we employ what Mills refers to as a “sociological imagination.”

In his 1959 text, Mills discusses how this sociological imagination can make us see our own experiences differently, less as isolated individuals and more as part of a social network.

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As a response to this topic,

1.  first explain this statement in terms of the sociological imagination: “Patterns of gender relations are found throughout society, although much of the time these patterns remain invisible to us.”

2.  Then, explain what is meant by the term “the social construction of gender,” and provide one example (from your own life, or things you have observed, television, etc.) of how gender is socially constructed.

3.  Finally, discuss ONE of the following two options

using direct references to the reading (quotes, please), discuss what you find to be a particularly interesting, important, or unanswered question about gender raised in this week’s materials. Explain how studying that question from a sociological perspective could lead to benefits, and for whom. Also suggest an approach for that study — what would we need to know? How might we approach finding that information? Why is this an appropriate question for Sociology? Would any of the categories of feminism described in this week’s readings help us to design this study?

OR

o  Mills wrote The Sociological Imagination in 1959, and it does not focus specifically on gender (though issues of gender are certainly evident here). Consider his argument in Chapter 1 (your reading for this week), and explain how it applies to us today, particularly when we think about gender and society. How can his arguments help us to understand the Sociology of Gender and the ways we experience gender today? Is there anything in this chapter that strikes you as entirely wrong or anachronistic for the study of gender today?

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