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Reflective Essay on the Theory of Sociological Imagination Introduced by Charles Mills Wrights

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There are many different variables that come into play when theorists are conducting research. Our text steps in to inform us as to how the use of different imaginations are key factors to understanding different types of theories ranging from crime to victimology. Furthermore, the sociological imagination is one that was introduced by Charles Mills Wrights in 1959 in his book based on the very subject. The sociological imagination is based on the ability to perceive situations and circumstances in a wide social context and observe how interactions and actions are influential upon other individuals and situations. Mills stated in his book, “When, in a city of 100,000, only one is unemployed, that is his personal trouble, and for its relief we properly look to the character of the individual, his skills and his immediate opportunities. But when in a nation of 50 million employees, 15 million people are unemployed, that is an issue, and we may not hope to find its solution within the range of opportunities open to any one individual. The very structure of opportunities has collapsed” (Phillppe, 2014). Mills also believed that we must understand our personal lives as lives that are shaped across three social dimensions.

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These social dimensions are structure, history, and varieties of men and women. I can understand and relate to this theory because as people we all have day to day activities or decisions we must make that exhibits the use of sociological imagination. I myself feel the effects of all three because things like my families’ educational background and financial history are things that factor into my decisions at many times. My decision to finish high school was influenced by the fact that neither my father or older brother had completed high school so that helped fuel me to do so. As far as the financial history goes I was brought up in a family who worked for a living but weren’t overachievers who were financially stable. That also fuels me in to wanting my kids to not have to worry and their simple needs being taken care of. For sociological imagination there are sociological theories of criminology which believe that society influences a person to become a criminal. Social learning theory

The criminological like the sociological have the same origins as they both were introduced by Charles Wright Mills in his book The Social Imagination. However, the criminological imagination differs from the sociological imagination because it tells how we obtain our criminal knowledge and how the criminal justice system utilizes the information in its’ policies. Furthermore, the two imaginations can go hand and hand because criminological imaginations can be influenced also by social awareness and knowing what’s going on in the world around us. For instance, if I were a bank robber and wanted to pull off a heist I would need to be enlightened as to how the bank conducted its daily business to put a plan in place to try to get the job done. Without such knowledge and social awareness, it would be complicated to do the heist. With the evolution of the criminological imagination came the evolution of research and scientific theories. Bernard suggested, “Scientific theory and research are like the chicken and the egg-each comes from the other, but neither comes first” (p. 3). To conclude, both Sociological and Criminological imagination deal with understanding individuals by doing research, making theories, and collecting data but they concentrate on different types of individuals and form their theories differently based of the person and imagination warranted.


  1. Moyer, I. L. (2001). Criminological theories: Traditional amd montraditional voices and themes. Thousand Oaks, Ca: Sage.
  2. Phillppe, D. (Ed.). (2014). Retrieved from WordPress:

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Reflective Essay on the Theory of Sociological Imagination Introduced by Charles Mills Wrights. (2022, August 12). Edubirdie. Retrieved September 29, 2023, from
“Reflective Essay on the Theory of Sociological Imagination Introduced by Charles Mills Wrights.” Edubirdie, 12 Aug. 2022,
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