According to C. W. Mills, “social imagination is an awareness of the relationship between a person’s behavior and experience and the wider culture that shaped the person’s choices and perceptions. It’s a way of seeing our own and other people’s behavior in relationship to history and social structure (1959)” (OpenStax College, 2015, p. 6). Sociological imagination is the ability to see individual behavior within the larger society and the impact of society over each individual’s private live. Therefore, personal troubles and public issues are very closely related.
Personal troubles are private problems that affect individuals and the networks of people with which they associate regularly. Personal troubles are small-scale problems that usually happen in intimate network (micro). On the other hand, public or social issues are the issues that affect large numbers of people and require solutions at the societal level, which involves a larger scale than personal issues. Personal crises are often rooted in social circumstances and individual’s behavior may be affected by the society
APPLICATION TO SOCIAL ISSUES Sociologists often study social problems using the sociological imagination. After the U. S Supreme Court gave extending marriage rights for same-sex couples nationwide, there are still agreements and disagreements arising. Some people are still wondering if we really believe homosexuality is a choice. Well i believe that every person’s personal decision could be a result of personal troubles and/or social issues, referring to sociological imagination theory.
According to a study by HaiderMarkel and Joslyn (2008), the origin of homosexuality could be nnate or lifestyle choices. They stated, “According to Weiner’s theory, the causes of homosexuality are perceived as either controllable (environmental/personal choice) or not controllable (biological/genetically determined)” (pg. 307). Controllability suggests personal responsibility for behaviors and as a result a predictable configuration of negative effects toward gays and lack of support for gay civil rights. That means many people consider that being gay is a result of society’s influences on lifestyles or we can say it’s the “peer-pressure”.
While on the other hand, non-controllability is distinguished by the fact that observers do not hold persons responsible for their behavior and, thus, attitudes toward those persons are more favorable. They consider that being gay is inevitable, they do not choose to be gay because it’s in their genetic. Based on their study, some who rely on a biological attribution, eliminates choice as the cause of homosexuality and thus avoids casting blame on gays for their distinctive sexual orientation.
Some others prefer the environmental attribution which implies a degree of control involved in sexual orientation. Highly religious individuals overwhelmingly believe that homosexuality is a product of individual choice/environmental circumstances. If homosexuality comes to be largely viewed as a result of genetics, they predict greater support for gay and lesbian civil rights results. II. SOCIAL RECONSTRUCTION OF REALITY CONCEPTUALIZATION Social construction of reality is a perception of reality that is subjective and its shared meanings originate from one’s own subcultures or one’s group.
According to Thomas Theorem, people’s behaviors can be determined by their subjective construction of reality rather than by objective reality. In The Social Construction of Reality book, Berger and Luckmann also argued that society is created by humans and human interaction. Reality is not absolute and what we understand to be “real” is actually a social constructed idea. It means that reality is based on social agreement and we construct our own society and accept it as it is because others have created it before us (OpenStax College, 2015, p. 91).
That our perception of reality is basically shaped by our social and physical location. APPLICATION TO SOCIAL ISSUES A research by Stambolis-Ruhstorfer (2010) examined how national context shapes the way lesbians, gays, and bisexuals (LGBs) understand and frame their sexual identity through indepth interviews with French LGBs living in the U. S and American LGBs living in France. As “outsiders within,” these expatriates are able to articulate a unique perspective on the dominant national understandings of sexual identity in both countries. There are cultural differences that these LGBs discovered through interaction.
The French cultural expectations is that individuals downplay their differences as minorities in the public sphere in order to adhere to universalist republican ideals. American LGBs living in France can make their differences appear less important than it really is to be considered as an issue. American cultural expectations is that individuals align themselves with a minority category in the public sphere, on the other hand. French LGBs living in the U. S. have to blend in themselves in the minority, and without realizing, they put themselves in a lower social position.
Migration leads them to think about the role of sexual identity in their lives and offers them the chance to “reinvent” themselves with the cultural tools of both countries. LGBs whose sexual identity conforms to the dominant perspective in the host country express feeling more comfortable there. When sexual identity conflicts with the cultural concept dominant in one’s home country, French and American LGBs express feeling ill at least with their national identity. These LGBs who feel sick of being outcasted and treated differently in their own society try to move to other country to find some air to breathe.
These findings can be used to further understand how nations shape the culturally acceptable forms of sexual identity expression that affect the lives of their inhabitants. The perceptions about the faults of being homosexuals were created by the agreement of the society, while socially constructed, is still quite real. In this case, a person being an LGBT and repeatedly given a label as something abnormal, disgusting, and should be excluded from a society, might live up to the term, even though they are just normal people with different sexual preferences. III.
SOCIAL STRATIFICATION CONCEPTUALIZATION Social stratification is ranking of groups within society and across societies according to their access to scarce and valued resources, such as money, education, healthcare, jobs, and political influence. It refers to an individual’s social standing or a society’s categorization of its people into rankings of socioeconomic tiers based on factors like wealth, income, race, education, and power. Social stratification produces and maintains inequality, not individual inequalities, but about systematic or social inequalities.
The structure of society affects a person’s social standing (OpenStax College, 2015, p. 187). The term social stratification is also used in the social sciences to describe the relative social position of persons in a given social group. APPLICATION TO SOCIAL ISSUES Factors that define stratification vary in different societies. In most societies, stratification is an economic system, based on wealth. In some cultures, the elderly are esteemed; in others, the elderly are disparaged or overlooked.
Societies’ cultural beliefs often reinforce the inequalities of stratification. One of the beliefs is that Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people are getting unequal treatment from the society. Transgender people say they experience widespread discrimination in employment, housing and other areas. Eight states and more than 80 local governments have passed laws prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity, and transgender advocacy groups want Congress to follow suit.
Many government and private employers already have “transinclusive” non-discrimination policies and help transgender workers fit in comfortably with colleagues and customers. Meanwhile, transgender advocates are urging health-insurance companies to cover the cost of sex-change procedures and calling on psychiatrists to delete or change the designation of “gender identity disorder” as a mental illness. But social cons atives oppose laws to bar gender discrimination and say transgender people are mentally ill and need therapy to help them accept their biological sex (ost, 2006).
Emboldened by the sexual revolution and a succession of liberation movements — for women, blacks, gays — transgender people are coming out in greater numbers in the United States, demanding legal rights and social acceptance. Without an anti-discrimination law, transgender people may have no recourse when they are rejected for a job, refused an apartment or denied service because of their gender identity. Transgender people may face disapproval, or even arrest for using a public restroom that corresponds to their gender identity but not their biological sex.
And even more than gay men or lesbians, transgender people appear to be disproportionately the victims of hate crimes. Cultural attitudes and beliefs like these support and perpetuate social inequalities. Society look down on LGBT people just because they have different perspectives and they decide to become who they really are. Society put LGBT people in a lower social position than others and treat them differently than other people. Some get beaten up, or even killed for being “different”.