Applying Our Social Imagination

Understanding the connection between one's own experiences and external social influences is necessary for social imagination. It examines how social contacts and behaviors affect a person's social problem. Any action that negatively affects a sizable portion of the population and necessitates prompt intervention to prevent more hurt or damage is considered a social problem. Most of the time, society criticizes individuals for social problems without taking into account the important role they play in exacerbating the issue.
Criminal activity in society, such as street robberies, is the societal issue I have addressed. The Guardian, an online newspaper, has drawn attention to this societal issue. The article talks about moped and scooter crimes how they impact on societies in areas with high incidences of street crimes (Moped and Scooter Crimes). An individualistic explanation of criminal behavior is that it’s an indicator of failure both morally and socially. I will put the blame specifically on the individual and assume they have personal troubles in their lives hence the decision to engage in criminal activities. In individualistic understanding, risk factors that increase the possibility of committing crime include laziness, illiteracy and lack of good work habits (blaming the victim approach).

I will also relate the criminal activities to constant drug abuse, troubled home life in the case of youths, poor parental discipline, and supervision, family conflict, mental illness, the opportunity for crime and availability of drugs. In this case, I will only blame the individual and their immediate family when trying to look for an explanation as to why they take part in criminal activities and failing to take into consideration other external factors in the society that contribute to participation in criminal activities by the in specific persons.

Sociological explanation of the problem based on my sociological imagination is that other external factors contribute to an individual participating in the crime. Engaging in crime can be classified as a public issue since the source lies in the social culture and structure of a society considering it affects many individuals. My sociological explanation is that social problems example engaging in criminal activities is as a result of external factors in the society.

The three theoretical perspectives that I will use in explaining my understanding of the social problem (participating in crime) are a functionalist theory, conflict theory, and symbolic interactionist theory. In the case of symbolic interactionism, it focuses on how criminal interactions with other robbers, peer group pressure and high incidences of school drop-outs in the surrounding increases the probability of criminal acts. It’s, therefore, necessary to engage the idle youth in constructive activities to minimize interaction with criminal gangs.

My sociological understanding using conflict theory is that those that engage in crime come from poor backgrounds, they have no jobs, and they live in neighborhoods that are crowded with poor housing conditions. They are therefore compelled to engage in crime to support their families. This explanation, therefore, blames both the society and the individual for crime incidences. In the case of functionalist theory, my understanding of the social problem (crime) is that it acts as a source of employment to individuals since there are minimal job opportunities though this is an extreme approach due to the failure of the society to create employment opportunities (Mills).

In conclusion, I find the sociological explanation more compelling than the individual explanation.This is because social issues arise from the interaction between external structures and individual behaviorism. It is, therefore, necessary to take a holistic approach when evaluating social problems and consider the impact social, economic and political institutions on the character of an individual and how it relates to social problems.

Works Cited

Mills, C.Wright. The sociological Iimagination. 1959.

"Moped and Scooter Crimes." The gurdian 12 October 2017. October 2017. .

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