Sociological imagination - Essay Example

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Your Name Prof’s Name Date The Individual and Society: Social Imagining and the Immigrant’s Challenge in America Sociologists have attempted to turn the interaction of human beings, on a large scale, into as exact a science as possible. Yet in doing so they often neglected the individual, to the extent that individual only functions as an object of socialization, or a repeater of socializing processes…
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Sociological imagination
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Download file to see previous pages People see themselves merely as recipient of society rather than recognizing their dual roles as both creators and receivers of the artifacts of society and socialization. The film “A Better Life” demonstrates many of these characteristics. Its main characters, Carlos, and undocumented immigrant, who buys a friend’s gardening business only to have its main asset (a truck), only to have it stolen, and Luis, seem to only be able to brave the struggles that are thrown at them every day without being able to act to change the systems that oppress them. The film makers, thus, fall into the trope of creating victims of society and socialization, without giving them agency to actually be a force for change in the social fabric. The film “A Better Life” is certainly a heart rending story, with people working incredibly hard just to make ends meet, and who face an unfair system that tilts their struggle for life against them. One of its main problems, whoever, is that it does not give its characters a great deal of agency beyond simply responding to one crisis after another – reacting to the things that are presented of them. This trope begins from the very opening of the film, when Carlos is (apparently for the nth time) offered his partner’s gardening business. He faces a choice foisted on him from outside circumstance: to buy or not to buy? When he hires someone who then steals his car, he likewise faces choices on how to deal with it, and eventually decides to steal the car back. Finally, when pulled over and deported, he has a choice of remaining in Mexico or of trying to get back in to America, and he chooses the latter. This sequence of outside crisis is certainly how many people imagine their lives, noticing only what Mills calls the “millieux” around them, that is, their circumstances, without recognizing that they have a part in shaping those circumstances. This is not at all to seem critical of the characters – that they should be doing more to give themselves a better chance at life. This issue is the film plays into a problem with the way people imagine themselves in the world with being solely the receivers of society and culture, rather than the creators and recipients of it. This film could have been better if the main characters at least recognized that they had some ability to shift the dynamics that were occurring, and that if many people like them made likewise changes then long lasting, changes for the better could actually occur. As it currently stands, the film tells the story of a valiant fight against a society that stacks the deck against much of its own population, but is not critical of the dynamic and trope of the individual responding to crisis foisted upon them by an outside, distinct society that they have no role in creating. “A Better Life” is certainly a good film outlining many important issues in sociology, such as oppression, the interaction between race and culture, the situation of immigrants and acculturation to new cultures and so on. Yet it falls into a trap that is very easy to stumble in to, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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