The sociological imagination helps us understand our surroundings. The context In which we grow up helps shape the person we will become. The settings we familiarize ourselves with have been built upon the social norms that have been set in place by changes in time. Norms are unwritten rules that we adopt throughout life and live by. C. Wright Mills underlines the connection of history and biography into the ideals that shape how your life will develop. In an attempt to understand Mill’s concept better, I broke a reliable norm of invading personal space.
For most people, a distance between people Is more comfortable. Speaking with two girls, one I knew and the other I didn’t, I approached them volt six Inches and began conversation. Talking with the girl I didn’t know, I stopped and introduced myself, slowly leaning in. Every time she leaned back. I got closer. My heart was beating faster with every word; I noticed she was also uncomfortable. Finally, after thirty seconds of conversation, she asked me what was going on. I explained that the close conversation was for an assignment.
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When doing a similar exercise with my roommate we were talking about our day, and then added expressions such as ‘sweetheart’ to the end of our sentences. It felt completely normal and was less stressful. Seeing how much more comfortable I was with my roommate instead of a random girl, shows how my self-securities stepped In. A social norm is an unconscious set of rules that humans abide by that separates us from animals. Social norms are a way of keeping order and peace In society. Respecting people’s personal space is a social norm In society that allows us to inverse with each other without causing tension.
We are socialized by our parents, media and the people around us to become comfortable with the people we trust. This is why when people make friends; you become comfortable around them by opening up and expressing your true self. Trust in others is important and also relates to self-security by showing how people become more open in relationships and closed In others. The colonization process of respecting other’s personal space also Incorporates the fear of having someone come close to you and even touch you.
People get anxiety from having others Invading this “space” that we all have claimed as our own. Gradually over time, this norm becomes more accepted thorough the colonization process we receive In life. Examples in public show desks and tables being evenly spaced out, confirming the mutual respect humans have for one another’s personal space. With the use of modern technology, people have become even more Isolated, making It harder to come In contact with the people who surround you.
Today, humans’ mall source of communication Is through text and mail, erasing the one on one contact with one another. C. Wright Mills would see this social phenomenon as a change in our cultures social contact over time. When taking other societies into consideration, there is a difference between collective and individualistic culture. When I visited Europe, I noticed a different approach in communication between people. They were a lot closer and sometimes kissed each other on each cheek as a general form of greeting one another.
To me, there is a difference between rural and urban cultures. In a city like Chicago, space is limited and many people are often living their lives on top of another, causing tension because of the personal space norm that is being violated. These norms are reflections in society that take place throughout all cultures and depend on the colonization process each society incorporates within their beliefs. To conclude, the sociological imagination helps everyone comprehend our social reality, allowing us to develop into the person we will eventually become.
Through beefing social norms, breaking social norms and seeing different social norms through different societies/history, C. Wright Mill’s sociological imagination shows how human beings incorporate norms allowing ourselves to live in a way we see suitable for society. To see Mill’s belief, I broke a reliable norm of invading personal space by talking to two people, one I knew and another I didn’t, by leaning in and breaking the personal space our society instills in us. It shows that we have unconscious social norms that we our embedded with from our culture that we live in.