Running Head: Elements of the Sociological Quest





Four elements of the sociological quest with Relevance on the Current societal problems like unemployment.

Sociology is the study of “human society”. With the following areas that revolve around human day to day life. These include: Social structures (e.g. the social stratification, the family and education.) Social issues (e.g. Causes of crime and unemployment.), Social systems (e.g. culture and identity and agents of social control)

With the world of massive population movements, instant media images, and rapid social change, various groups–once isolated from one another–now must coexist and compete for the same socio-cultural time and space. They experience conflict over jobs, housing, education, religious observance, and legal definitions of right and wrong. For most of this country, sociology has sought to understand the development and interaction of human groups and to use that understanding to reduce the problems that occurs when groups interact. Its is with that the sociological Imagination gets route which enables the use of imaginative thought to enable easy the asking and answering of new sociological questions. The sociological imagination

Elements of the Sociological Quest

could also be given in the capacity to see how sociological situations play out due to how people within the society differ and social circumstances occur. This is a way of thinking about things in society that have led to some sort of situations, and getting to know what causes led to that outcome. What shapes these outcomes include social norms, what people want to gain out of something (their motifs for doing something) and the social context they are in (ex-country, time period, people they associate themselves with). Basically, what we do is influenced by all these things that result in some sort of outcome within the society. The sociological imagination gives the ability to see things socially and how they interact. In order to be feeling the sociological imagination, we must be able to pull our self away from the obvious situation and think from an alternative point of view that may exist. It requires us to think ourselves away from our daily routines and look at them anew. In order to gain knowledge, it’s very important to not follow a routine, you have to break free from the immediacy of personal situations and put things into a wider perspective. Sociological Imagination gives us the capacity to shift from one perspective to another e.g.

E. Wills (1999) talks about the power of sociological imagination to connect personal problems to public/ societal issues.

There is always need to know the historical and sociological meaning of individuals in society; particularly in the time which he/ she has his/her quality as human being.

In general, sociologists use four distinct components: Historical,

Anthropological, structural and Critical C.W Mills 2000 Autobiographical Writings and Letters

to interpret their subject matter.

According to C.W Mills 2000 Autobiographical Writings and Letters (p 38-67) the historical examines how human group interaction, institutions, and culture promote the survival and success of various groups. For example, C.W Mills study’s wealth and poverty to discover how social choice patterns affect income level. He concludes that delayed parenthood, smaller families, and two-parent households have a major impact on middle-class status, and that teenage single parenthood contributes significantly to poverty. Historical element tends to study prosperous and dominant groups, cultures, and societies, focusing on the values and behaviors

Elements of the Sociological Quest

that make them successful                                                                                                                                                            .

Using the Critical aspect, C.W Mills 2000 Autobiographical Writings and Letters

sees the same phenomena quite differently. He likely believes that poverty is an outcome of group struggle over scarce resources or wealth. From this perspective, poverty results not from learned dysfunctional choices, but because the system that oppresses poor people. Both poverty and the welfare system are believed to serve the ruling classes’ need for cheap labor, consumption of excessive production, and soldiers to further their objectives. He sees society groups’ competition for power. He tends to view all norms and laws as helping the dominant group retain its position.

According to, C.W Mills 2000 Autobiographical Writings and Letters (p 79-90) the,

Anthropological aspect emp hasizes human creativity, especially through the use of symbols and language that create social order and cultural meaning. C. Wright Mills studies functional and dysfunctional cultural patterns. But he also tends to mirror Critical aspect since he believes that social group seeks dominance through use of normative/legal structures. However, Symbolic Anthropological focus

on the human ability to create social and material reality based on a vision of the ideal society. In examining single parenthood in a culture, He focus on the symbolic meaning of children; the relation of child bearing to adult roles, status, and independence; and the ways that changing those meanings could affect the number of single parents.

, C.W Mills 2000 Autobiographical Writings and Letters also criticize the existing social order through the Structural aspect. On that Critical and Symbolic Anthropological


to be very critical of the normative order. Symbolic Anthropological emphasize ways that human beings can create and change symbolic meaning to make society more just, fair, and inclusive. Both groups tend to be egalitarian and critical or hierarchical structures. From these perspectives, economic and social stratification systems are designed to perpetuate existing social arrangements that benefit only a few.

Elements of the Sociological Quest

According to, C.W Mills 2000 Autobiographical Writings and Letters (p 89). Political colonies are freed; new and less visible forms of imperialism installed. Revolutions occur; people feel the intimate grip of new kinds of authority. Totalitarian societies rise, and are smashed to bits – or succeed fabulously. Everywhere in the underdeveloped world, ancient ways of life are broken up and vague expectations become urgent demands. Everywhere in the overdeveloped world, the means of authority and of violence become total in scope and bureaucratic in form.

E. Willis 1999, Sociology (p 100-104) reminds us of the rich cultural diversity of contemporary society and the Adventist Church, as well as the need to understand, accept, and integrate the diverse subcultures that comprise our community of belief.

Basing the above subject matter it easier to explain why there is a housing shortage in Sydney, it is currently at its lowest housing construction rate in 50 years. According to the Daily Telegraph more homes were set to be built in Adelaide than in Sydney in 2009. Despite the population growth of Australia’s biggest city, reports showed that only 7,300 new houses were to be built.

This number is alarmingly less than previous years, and is roughly only a third of the figure in the past years. This can be attributed to the structural aspect of sociology in that the government in place has taken deliberate effort to help reduce the number of occupants within the city- Sydney, with aim to help have a people in different cities like Adelaide and Melbourne; this goes a great way to encourage balances developments.

Meanwhile, Melbourne is started construction of 23,000 new dwellings in 2003. Brisbane is set to grown its housing capacity by 13,450 while Adelaide will have 7,500 new homes. Which brings about the question not Sydney?

Elements of the Sociological Quest

With more houses in other cities, Sydney’s population is expected to growing by close to 23,000

– which easily makes the dwelling shortage a reality. This also remained the problem because of the historical aspect of sociology in that from the word go, there was poor planning of the city structure so for it to have more construction rezoning processes and infrastructure facilitation must take place.

With this shortage its no doubt that its bad news for renters and those looking to get into the housing property market as inadequate growth in supply will push rents and house prices up this compliments the historical aspect combined with anthropological aspect of sociology since its through that one gets to understand why housing an important element in the countries development is not encouraged.

Elsewhere in Australia, the activity is around normal historic levels, although you can argue that even that’s not enough, given the population and migration growth in those states. Because renters would not be alone in baring the brunt of the housing shortage. It’s a societal problem.

Looking at the Australian government system, it’s justified to use the Critical aspect of sociology in that despite the housing problem the go ahead to give baby bonus, which totally blows out of proportion the housing problem, in that more babies and less housing. People were eligible to receive the baby bonus if, on or after 1 July 2001 and before 1 July 2004, if they had a baby or gained legal responsibility for a child under five years. They claim the bonus until the child turns five years old. You have a legal responsibility for a child if: for the day-to-day care, welfare and development of the child, and you are their natural mother or natural father, or You have a court order giving you legal responsibility (for example, through adoption)..

The extension of the claim period from 26 weeks to 52 weeks provide time to determine a reasonable income estimate or the opportunity to determine the actual income for the six months following the birth of your child, or the child’s entry into your care. The extended claim period ensures parents/carers who are uncertain about their income have ample time to test or re-test their eligibility. For example, if you lodged an estimate of income shortly after the child’s

Elements of the Sociological Quest

birth for more than $75,000 over the 6 month period after the birth and your income turned out to be less than you estimated, you could reapply at a later time in the 52 week claim period. This is all based on the structural aspect of sociology, in that the baby bonus issue is societal issue.

Another change relates to the manner in which Baby Bonus is paid. Currently, Baby Bonus is usually paid as a lump sum. For children who are born or who enter care from 1 January 2009, families will are paid their Baby Bonus in 13 equal fortnightly installments, paid from the date the claim is granted. These assist parents/carers with the ongoing costs of a new child over a six-month period. It’s no doubt that sociologists have to use the element of critism to try and enlighten the government and the society on the consequences of this social aspect brought about deliberately by the government. As much as its justified in that the government, want to get more young generation to provide labor in the near future that will curb the influx of immigrants, its is not looking at shelter which is a basic need, as far as human existence is concerned. In general the aspect of shelter and new born should be regulated in that they balance, this goes a great extend in dealing away with street family, commonly brought about by luck of shelter or unaffordable shelter.

Basing on fundamental aspects of sociology, sociological explanation is considered. These are the distinction between sociological and social problems; the question of private troubles and public issues; the distinction between the macro, large-scale level of analysis and the micro, small-scale level; the issue of reflexivity as well as issues of continuity and change. An example is unemployment during the last financial crisis. We can probably agree that it is a social problem that there is not enough paid work for all those who want it. This takes as to the structural aspect of sociology in that the society social order does not have enough resources to sustain its people, usually it can be attributed to the historical aspect that proper infrastructure was not put in place to deal with ever increasing population yet we have limited resources. Sociological problems e.g. Unemployment however, may be to consider what it is about the way our society is currently organized that does not provide enough paid work opportunities. Alternatively we might consider why those without work have difficulty maintaining a sense of worth in a society where a person’s identity (their sense of who they are and where

they fit in the world) comes so much from the sort of job an individual performs. Through sociological imagination one is able to think, question and answer questions from a detached view of society and using the rhetoric of sociology to examine aspects of society. It’s through that people can be able to understand why there is unemployment, in that the financial crisis a societal problem due the structural system within.

Elements of the Sociological Quest

Sociological problems can be found at all levels of the social world, and reading the morning newspaper is likely to stimulate sociological curiosity on all sorts of sociological problems. Some have serious implications, some not. Sociological problems can occur at the individual, community, societal or global levels.

Our increasingly multicultural world and church demand that we strive to understand social/cultural/ethnic group processes and identity. Such effort will be, by definition, uncomfortable and difficult at times, but will help us to shape wisely human group experience in church and society. It’s through that a practical example can based on Australia, In the Sociological Imagination, Wills (1999) puts it that an individual must look inside himself to help important research problems, and those social sociologists who translate private problems into public/ societal issues. Such translation means that we connect the problems we face in our biography to social institutions, this collection the forms social structure and that you locate that structure in history. More on this issue, Wills (1999) maintains throughout that Sociological Imagination is very difficult for individuals in society to who link their personal problems to the cultural places in which they live.

The study of Sociological Imagination allows one to possess the ability to look beyond their small local environment and there personality to widen there relationship and social structures between biography, history and social structure.

Reference List.

< >.13 Mar 2010 Evan Willis: Sociology: Allen & UnwinPlace, St. Leonards: 1999

C. Wright Mills: C.W Mills 2000 Autobiographical Writings and Letters: Hardcover, University of

Elements of the Sociological Quest

California Press: 2000