As stated, here are my short answers. Constructive Criticism is always welcome!
- What do you think C. Wright Mills meant when he said that to be a sociologist, one has to develop a sociological imagination?
I believe that what C. Wright Mills meant by developing a sociological imagination was that one must remain open and impartial when studying a culture. A sociologist cannot apply the influences, judgments, opinions and thoughts that come from their own culture to members of a different culture. One must maintain an open mind to allow learning and advance a study in the most impartial way possible. In order to accomplish this, one must have the “sociological imagination” to accept the information that is found and observed.
- Describe a situation in which a choice you made was influenced by societal pressures.
Choices are frequently made that are influenced by societal pressures. I believe that each day, everyone has to make choices, from what to wear to what to eat and drink. This also would include major decisions, from buying a certain home or renting an apartment, whether to buy or lease a car. Societal pressures are all around us all the time. I purchased a home two years ago based on society telling me that I had to own land, society here is starting to shift. More people are choosing to rent, and had I been a few years younger, I would have likely decided to rent and not buy.
3. What do you make of Karl Marx’s contributions to sociology? What perceptions of Marx have you been exposed to in your society, and how do those perceptions influence your views?
Karl Marx has made great contributions to sociology through his studies of the European cultures around him. He is credited with devising the Conflict Theory, which has led to the explanation of many changes in societies. His presumption that societal changes come from conflict alone may have been over simplified, however, this has become the basis of many theories seen today.
- Do you tend to place more value on qualitative or quantitative research? Why? Does it matter what topic you are studying?
I would place a higher value on qualitative research given its closer relationship to the sources of information. Macro studies, in my opinion, need to start at the micro level before they can be fully understood. That said, this would apply to gaining and understanding of a society in a national sense. Once you have an understanding at the national sense you will be able to u understand society in a global sense.
- Which theory do you think better explains how societies operate – structural functionalism or conflict theory? Why?
I feel that structural functionalism better explains how societies operate. Many of the changes seen in society can be traced back through years of development. Conflict theory explains changes as the result of a sudden uprising or other catastrophic changes that occurs within a very short period of time, while structural functionalism traces the changes through history. As in the case of the Russian revolution in 1917, Conflict theory seems to explain this as happening suddenly through the course of decisions made by a few individuals. Structural functionalism would seem to take into account the different strati of the Russian society and upbringing of the individuals that would better explain what created the conditions that allowed for the revolution to take place.
- Do you think the way people behave in social interactions is more like the behaviour of animals or more like actors playing a role in a theatrical production? Why?
I believe that people behave differently in each given situation depending on the level of perceived comfort with the others that an individual is feeling. A person may behave as though in a theatrical scene if they are in, for example, a professional capacity. A CEO would follow a carefully orchestrated plan (script) to maintain a certain appearance. Projecting confidence, knowledge and capability while in a meeting with potential client or investor. On the other hand, this same individual may let his or her guard down somewhat and act on instinctual level when cheering for a favoured sports team or while at home with family or close friends.
- How do you think taking a sociology course might affect your social interactions?
I feel that, as I have learned so far, sociology has a lot to offer me in both my personal and professional lives. Each person leads two separate yet equal lives. The first is the home and family. Understanding social interactions and being able to teach my children how to read these interactions can assist them with major tasks, such as education, and minor tasks, as in how to act at a birthday party. In my professional life, sociology can aid me in determining one course of action over another when dealing with people from other cultures. Maintaining an open mind, or sociological imagination, will better allow me to navigate through foreign countries.
- What sort of career are you interested in? How could studying sociology help you in this career?
I am currently working in a government position and studying sociology will give me a better understanding of social interactions with the individuals that I work with. Many people come from different backgrounds have their own traditions and social rules that need to be melded in different working environments. Sociological Courses will certainly help with these interactions.