Sociological imagination research paper


Wright Mills defined sociological imagination as the keen awareness of the connection between one's own experience and a wider social perspective in his 1959 book Sociological Imagination. Mill's main objective in creating the book was to bring together two disparate facets of a social issue. These are the subjective viewpoint and the more thorough cultural viewpoint. Additionally, the ability to "critically think ourselves away" might be seen as a practice of sociological imagination. In his critique of present sociological approaches, Mills offers his own interpretation of sociology. Understanding sociological imagination enables one to view issues from a social perspective and how their respective actions affect the interaction with one another.

The Issue of Academic Dishonesty

From a sociologist's view, for one to understand a social aspect of an idea, one must be able to pull themselves out of the social situation and view the issue at hand from an outside view. This paper will use the basis of Mill's critical perspective on a friend's challenge and the resulting experience on the campus. My analysis will be on the issue of academic dishonesty and the sociological views of both the individual academic dishonesty and the outside view of the same problem. The paper will also see the social perspective and the social reception on the personal situation of the said student and the social response of the vice of exam cheating. Analysis of poverty and outright laziness about exam cheating will also be described in length (Mills).

A Friend's Experience with Academic Dishonesty

While in the second year of campus, a friend of mine was deeply engraved in academic dishonesty. These vices ranged from exam cheating, copying assignments, late submission of assignments and missing contribution in the group tasks. Listening from his perspective, one could identify specific reasons on why he was engaged in these immoral student decay. The situation he found himself at was due to poverty and to some extent laziness. He claimed that due to his social status and his position of being an orphan he had to provide for himself and his younger sibling. He argued that his situation would not allow him to focus on both academics and preparing for a future without college funds and college privileges like housing benefits. He was deeply engraved in both exam and other forms of academic malpractices due to inadequate preparations. This withstanding he had a belief that he won't be caught hence will not be punished. Luckily he was never actually found. Together with two other friends, we engaged him on the importance of balancing between academic work and other issues on campus. We even offered to coach him on the lessons he missed as a way of making him understand the concepts he lost. We also convinced him of time management and taking one step time by focusing one situation at hand. In addition to that, we encouraged him to seek some money to enroll in additional coaching lessons to understand those concepts missed. Last but not least we discouraged the idea of academic dishonesty and criticized it all together from both a social, academia on moral perspective. With those measures in place, the student managed to improve his time management, and that brought back his academic understanding back to normal. Currently, from our knowledge, the student is never involved in any educational malpractices.

The Student's Perspective

From the student's personal perspective, he had no option rather than to cheat on exams. Deep understandings of his view are that it ate into his academic time by focusing on his part-time jobs. This was all to ensure he gets enough money to secure a better life for him and his brother. From this approach, the decision of losing academic integrity was not as crucial as provisions of social welfare for him and his brother.

Sociological Perspective

Some friends who knew his situation were critical of his decisions and the immorality of his actions. More often than not, he was always rebuked by some friends, and some threatened to report his acts to the school's administration. From a sociologic perspective, my view had ever been first to understand his situation while emphasizing the school's strict integrity policy. Among other strategies was to seek alternative solutions to solve his main issue at hand which was his fear of the future. Although there seemed to be some dishonesty in his claims, the best solution, however, was to motivate him to balance between sides hustle jobs and his academics. I together with other friend invited him to join our study group to help his understanding of class work and assignments. In addition to that, we encouraged him to seek address from the department's heads too. From the societal view on the same issues, it would be ideal to condemn the act of academic dishonesty.

Utilitarian Theory: Justifying the Student's Perspective

From the societal view, exam malpractice is evil and should be condemned. Understanding the society reception of the vice would have helped the student revisit his choices at hand. Poverty, as well as academic malpractice from a social perspective, can be viewed as both due to laziness and lack of ambitions.

The Role of Sociological Imagination

To understand the student perspective of self-interest in the issue at hand, the paper will use utilitarian theory to justify the student's selfishness and individual decision making as per his reason. The student's choice to be unethical in academic dishonesty would have a negative impact on his social organization in the future. The student understood very well the college's policy of academic integrity ranging from plagiarism to use of unwanted materials in the examinations. From a social perspective, the utilitarian theory focuses only on certain conditions at hand and making decisions regarding the current situation. Critics of the theory site that the approach does not focus on the consequences of taken actions altogether. From the theory, it is possible to justify immoral acts depending on the situation one is and with that available options at hand (Conley). From the student's perspective, weighing the two issues regarding academic integrity as compared to the fear of being homeless with his sibling was a difficult one to call.


In conclusion, the role of sociological imagination cannot be overlooked in the critical view of social issues. Although academic dishonesty is more than a bad habit, it is a social vice that builds into a lack of morality in the future. No challenge in the current situation is new to the world. Time management and effective planning are essential to tackle all the hurdles in student life. From a sociologist view no matter the weight of two situations at hand, losing morals on one will always be condemned. Students should also share their problems with friends and the administration. Taking decisions to oneself may overlook the consequences attached to it. Even though social imagination makes us critically analyze the situation from all perspectives, it would be wise to use the idea before the results fall on you.

Works Cited

Conley, Dalton. You May Ask Yourself: An Introduction to Thinking Like a Sociologist. New York: W.w Norton, 2013.

Mills, C Wright. The Sociological Imagination. New York: Oxford University Press, 1959. Print.

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