Presentation on theme: "The Sociological Imagination"— Presentation transcript:
1 The Sociological Imagination Personal Troubles vs. Public Issues
2 Personal TroublesOccur within the character of the individual...and within the range of his/her immediate relations with others.These have to do with one’s “self”Personal troubles are “private matters”“Solutions” appear to stem directly from individual decisions.
3 Public IssuesHave to do with matters that transcend the individual…especially his/her inner life.They have to do with larger social systems and historical process.Issues are public matters that in some way affect everyone in a given collectivity.“Solutions” transcend individuals.
4 EXAMPLE ONE Eating Disorders History of Eating Disorders Cause of Eating DisordersWhen viewed as “personal trouble”When viewed as “public issue”
5 EXAMPLE TWO Women and Happiness By almost every social and economic indicator, the last 35 years have been positive for womenControlling reproduction, obtaining more education, working in male professions, gender-wage gap has declined, they live longer, men are doing more houseworkAre women “less happy” or “more happy” today than they were 35 years ago?
6 EXAMPLE TWO Women and Happiness They are “less happy” This is true for working women, stay-at-home women/moms, married and single women, highly and less educated, moms and childless women, young and oldEXCEPT: black women are happier todayHow can sociology help women?
7 Why might women be “less happy”? EXAMPLE TWOWhy might women be “less happy”?Their anticipated happiness 35 years ago was overinflatedWomen’s lives are more like men’s lives – and men are less happy than womenThere was pressure in the past for women to pretend they were happy – even when they weren’tSo they erroneously reported being happy
8 EXAMPLE THREEYou have a group of friends and you’re a non believing liberal DemocratSome are happy and other are not so happySome are extremely religious and others are atheists or agnosticsSome are conservatives and others liberalsYou are not so happy and you want to be like some of them but not like othersYou try to mimic their personalities by asking them what their secret is…until…
11 SEXUAL ACTIVITY AND COLLEGE EXAMPLE FOURSEXUAL ACTIVITY AND COLLEGEWhen we ask (young) college students about the sexual activity of their peers:They think they don’t have enough sexThey think others have lots of sexNaturally they feel:Happy about this?Unhappy about this?Neither if they attend a Christian college…
12 SEXUAL ACTIVITY AND COLLEGE EXAMPLE FOURSEXUAL ACTIVITY AND COLLEGEFrom a 2005 study:80 percent of students had 0 or 1 sexual partner in preceding year59 percent had no sexual activity in previous 30 daysBut only 22 percent of those students believed that fellow students had one or no sexual partnerMost believed that “most other” students had 3 or more sexual partners
13 SEXUAL ACTIVITY AND COLLEGE EXAMPLE FOURSEXUAL ACTIVITY AND COLLEGEWhen students learn this information and interpret it through the lens of sociology…It makes it a lot easier to take cold showers or stay home and have sex with themselves.