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According to C. Wright Mills, the sociological imagination is a way of thinking that incorporates the following three themes:
1. The importance of looking beyond your own milieu
2. The connection between social history and biography
3. The link between public issues and personal troubles Reflect upon these themes as you read the following case study, then answer the three questions below:
Alex is a new student at the Monroe Campus of Northampton Community College. He moved to the Poconos with his family from Brooklyn, NY when he was 15 years old. Alex and his family have had a difficult time adjusting to their new community, and he sometimes feels that a few of his neighbors aren’t so happy that they moved in from NY. After a rough adjustment, Alex finished high school and got a job at a grocery store where he currently works about 20 hours/week. Money has always been tight for his family, so Alex has to work to help support himself and his schooling. This semester he is taking 4 classes and is struggling to find the time to keep up with his course work and his job. Neither of his parents went to college, and Alex sometimes feels like they don’t understand why he is so stressed out.
(1) Why would it be valuable for Alex to understand the importance of looking beyond his milieu? HINT: address the macro-micro link.
(2) Discuss two examples of social history (macro-level societal events or changes) that may have shaped his biography.
(3) Explain the difference between public issues and personal troubles. Select a public issue that we face as a society, and discuss the specific personal troubles it may cause for Alex in his personal life.
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