Sociological History and Perspectives

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SociologicalHistory and Perspectives

SociologicalHistory and Perspectives

Commonsense is a difficult concept to define. In simple terms, common senserefers to the experience and central knowledge possessed by anindividual. It is defines as “the basic level of practicalknowledge and judgment that we all need to live in a reasonable andsafe way”. Therefore, common sense refers to an ideology sharedamong human beings. Although common sense differs from one individualto another, it is critical in all aspects of everyday life. It iscritical for survival and harmonious living, thus does not requireevidence to substantiate (Johnson, 2008, Browne, 2011). For example,an individual will use common sense to know that beer or alcoholicbeverage will always be found in a pub. Additionally, through commonsense, an individual knows that you will be hit and killed or injuredif you walk in front of a moving vehicle. Common sense is based onvalues and beliefs in a society as well as knowledge and experiencesof an individual.

Onthe other hand, sociological imagination challenges this knowledgeand experiences. According to Wright Mills (1959), who proposed thesociological imagination concept, individuals should ask themselveswhy things happen the way they do and think about the problems facingthem as individuals rather than the problem facing the wider society.This enables individual gain knowledge on why thing happen the waythey happen rather than relying on secondary knowledge. Thus,sociological imagination proposes that people should not accept normsand values in the society, but rather should challenge them in orderto understand why they exist (Nilsen, 2011). For example, individualdifferences due to their race have been an important value held bythe society. This is based on social constructs which classifyindividuals into racial groups. Additionally, the social constructsensure that individuals are treated differently depending on theirrace. Sociological imagination can be used to challenge this conceptin the society and demonstrate that individuals are equalirrespective of their race (Giddens, 2011).


Browne,K. (2011). Anintroduction to sociology. Malden, MA: Polity Press.

Giddens,A. (2001). Sociology4th ed. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Johnson,D. (2008). Contemporarysociological theory: an integrated multi-level approach.New York: Springer.

Mills,C. W. (1959). TheSociological Imagination.Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Nilsen,J. (2013). C.Wright Mills and the sociological imagination: contemporaryperspectives.Northamption, MA: Edward Elgar.

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