Personal Experiences and Public Issues by C.W.Mills_

The sociological imagination is the ability to see how sociological situation play out as to how people vary in terms of their situation in given historical or social circumstances. The sociological imagination therefore includes the thoughtful of the interconnections that enlighten the fabric of individual societies. However, this things people do are shaped by the condition people are in, the values, the way people around act, and how that all connect to some kind of result. However, discussing about ‘public issues’, it is generally caused by or the failure of one more of society’s institutions or the structure of society. As such, the sociological imagination is the aptitude to shift from one perception to another. For a person to do so, Mills supposed, would enable person to use the sociological imagination to link “personal troubles to public issues.”

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It’s common for students to run into serious “personal troubles” at some point in the course of a semester. These personal troubles are not simply justification to try and get an addition on an assignment, but serious predicament that may prevent students from continuing in class or with their schooling entirely. Let’s reflect on how these “personal troubles” can be connected with “public issues.” One semester, a student who had been incredibly interested in class almost stopped attending. She was completing the main course assignments, but the standards of the work had turn down since she had not been attending classes.

It’s really convincing to imagine that this student was simply careless, maybe a person or partier who did not take her learning seriously. Later established that, something tough was going on, more than simply her personal failure, she ultimately came to office, almost in tears. She was almost graduating and wanted to perform well in class. She would be the first person in her people to graduate from university, and wanted to be a role model for her youthful siblings. Then understood why: she was trying to feed them on her own. She had been bought in foster care, had “matured” of the system, and was working hard to keep the family in cooperation.  With no older family members or parents available, she had no financial or emotional support.

She was afraid because once she was not a student she would probably no longer be able to stay in student housing and was experiencing the prospect of becoming homeless at the end of the semester. In student words, she was “freaking out.” On peak of her very reasonable fear of being homeless, the one aim in life that she took pride in, that offered her possibility of a better life, her schooling, seemed to become devastating. Definitely, for this student, these were extremely personal troubles, one she suffered embarrassed about and struggle to keep private until she wanted to ask for sponsor. But they also duplicate serious public issues. Countless juvenile may find themselves in related situations, and many encounter to find a place to live.

Living in a luxurious urban area is as well a public issue, where accommodation can be hard to get, and is extremely expensive. The average rent for Los Angeles region is about $1040. A student making California’s lowest wage of $7 an hour and operating 20 hours a week is expected to earn simply under $560 a month prior to taxes and would probably need two roommates to pay a one bedroom house at this cost.  When the “housing bubbles” separate, many people lost their condominiums or homes, leading them to overflow the rental market, increasing prices and competition in a formerly tight housing market. This public issue happens greatly on student.

Shifting to a different lower-priced city may seem like a answer to this private complexity, but considering public issues would help in understanding why this can not be a good suggestion. First, her restricted family ties are in this region, as are her links for social services like case personnel she may still have from foster care. Shifting to another town would also deracinate her from any companionship network she may have for maintenance too. Additional students over the time have experienced other personal troubles that are evidently associated with public issues.

As a college student, or people they know are likely to get through personal troubles linked with public issues, whether it is struggling with the rising cost of tuition and accumulating debt or wondering how they can fit into the broader labor market. Using sociological imagination will help them better understand why personal crises are often rooted in social circumstances. Sociology not only helps people analyze current and existing patterns of social life, but it also helps to see some of the possible futures open. Through the sociological imagination, people can see not only what is the case, but also what could become the case should a person desire to make it that way.


Mills, C. W. (1959). The Sociological Imagination. London: Oxford University Press,

Giddens, Anthony. (1996). “Sociological Imagination.” Introduction to Sociology. 1996. Karl Bakeman. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc,

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