According to Mills, the idea of sociological imagination refers to our capacity to see oneself outside of our regular daily routines and view things from a different angle. According to Mills, it is the utmost awareness of the connection between ordinary interactions and society as a whole. Simply said, it is the ability to consider problems from a social perspective as well as how they relate to and influence one another. The capacity to form a social worldview is a prerequisite for sociological imagination. Sociological imagination requires us to think past our own personal encounters and observations to comprehend well the wider public issues. A good example highlighted by Wright Mills is by no doubt a personal challenge for a couple, nevertheless, he suggested that with the use of sociological imagination, people should look at divorce as not just a personal challenge of the couple, but a societal problem. Typically, any conduct can be used to express the application of sociological imagination. A good example of sociological imagination application is drinking of tea. The idea of tea drinking can be viewed from many perspectives as opposed to a virtual action of just drinking it (Elwell, 2005).
For instance; someone may take tea in order to maintain good health as it has different vitamins which have been recommended as beneficial by health professionals. Taking tea may be seen as a societal norm as numerous individuals have chosen to be taking it daily during breakfast before starting off their day. Tea also contains caffeine which is a drug and as such some people have become addicted to it and drink it to cater for their addiction to caffeine which acts to stimulate the functioning of the brain. It is however sociologically fun to ask the reason why the addicts of caffeine are not viewed as drug addicts in the civilized nations. Just like beer, coffee is a legally accepted drug but marijuana is illegal. Drinking tea is also a social action as friends may choose to come together in the evenings and drink tea while sharing. As such the meeting will more be based on socializing as opposed to taking the tea (Elwell, 2005)?
Another dimension to drinking coffee is related to socio-economic norms. Growth, packaging, distribution and marketing of coffee have an impact on different cultures and societal groups in the cultures. Such activities happen far away from the final tea consumer. Different aspects in life are centered in globalized transactions. Another example of sociological imagination behavior is cheating in exams. The behavior of cheating can be explained in different theories as per this concept. In almost every society, drinking coffee or tea is a form of social interaction.
A student may cheat because they are unable to pay for coaching and tuition classes or cannot afford to buy revision materials due to poverty and as such in order to pass exams may result to cheating. a student may cheat due to pressure from parents to excel in the event that he is not mentally able to do so. This means that circumstances will lead him to cheating. A lazy student who does not want to work hard to excel academically may opt to cheat in exams as he did not prepare enough. Sociological imagination does not just assist us in analyzing the present and predominant patterns of our social life; it additionally helps people to have a view of the possible trends that may come in the future. It enables people to see not just the real issues, but additionally that which may turn out to reality in the event that we need it to be real.
Elwell, F 2005, C. Wright Mills on the Sociological Imagination, Retrieved from http://www.faculty.rsu.edu/users/f/felwell/www/Theorists/Essays/Mills3.htm