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Sample Discussion Board Post on Sociology: Applying the Sociological Imagination
A board discussion post is a type of academic write-up often assigned to students taking online classes or distance learning . Unlike an essay or a research paper, a board post is shorter and less formal. It also facilitates conversation between classmates because online platforms enable students to respond to their peers. A previous sample board post explored the meaning of life . This sample post features the student’s response to the given prompt as well as a direct response to a peer’s post.
Prompt: Mills defined sociological imagination as the “awareness of the relationship between personal experience and the wider society.” In other words, sociological imagination is the ability to understand the link between an individual and society as well as how each influences the other. Your task is to provide a discussion board post applying C. Wright Mills’ concept of sociological imagination to a specific aspect of your life. You are free to choose any aspect as long as you demonstrate the use of sociological imagination in examining this face of your personal experience. The post should have a minimum of 300 words and at least 2 academic sources. You are also required to respond to a peer’s post; minimum of 300 words and no sources necessary.
Discussion Board Post
As Mills has made it clear in his explanation of the sociological imagination, there is an intricate relationship between personal experience and society at large (Mills, 1959). Social institutions, systems, and other broad contexts such as history and culture all influence an individual’s life. In fact, it is difficult to think about a facet of life that has not been influenced in some way by social structures. As for myself, one aspect of my life where the sociological imagination is applicable is the difficulty my family experiences in purchasing a new house.
My family is quite big by modern standards. I have four other siblings and my mother’s parents also live with us, which brings our household to a total of nine persons. We live in a four-bedroom apartment, which means that we siblings share rooms. My parents have been wanting to purchase a house and indeed have already set aside some money as a down payment. But looking for a house here in New York City has been a nightmare. Virtually every house that could fit us all that my parents viewed is beyond their budget. Meanwhile, the prices keep rising. This has been a source of great stress to my parents since every month that passes means the house that they want is getting more expensive by the day. They also feel that they have failed to provide for us.
However, utilizing sociological imagination reveals that this is not my parents’ fault. Rather, bigger forces in the housing sector are shaping their experience. A recent article by Reuters reports that analysts estimate prices will increase by 10% this year. The surge in prices has been attributed to a variety of factors including the recovery of the economy and imbalance in supply and demand (Kishan & Ganguly, 2022). As demand rises, the prices of an increasingly limited supply also rise. Here in New York City, the massive population equates to massive demand. But more than that, the vast wealth concentrated in the hands of the ultra-rich is driving prices up. A report by construction analyst B1M reports that the increase in the number of second homes, mostly by the wealthy, is leaving middle and lower-income families with fewer options. This in turn further increases the prices as available houses get scarcer. The eye-watering high prices of luxurious residences springing up in New York City coupled with new developments also raise the prices of adjacent properties, thus placings homes further away from the reach of those with limited financial resources (Urbi, 2022).
Without sociological imagination, it is easy to assume that my parents’ difficulty in securing a new house for my family is a struggle unique to our family. But viewing the matter with a more critical eye and an awareness of broader forces at play eventually leads to a deeper understanding of the matter. It also enables people like me to take action. Possessing more knowledge about how the economy and policies affect us will help me make more informed choices when it comes to political participation and advancing my community’s interests.
Response to Peer’s Post
First of all, thank you for contributing your post to this thread. I think that you have provided an excellent discussion because you clearly demonstrate the connection between your grandmother’s health status and socioeconomic inequality. I understand that your grandmother has not been able to comply with her doctor’s advice to cut down her intake of fatty foods. While this may conveniently be reduced to a question of choice, you have successfully established the relationship between an individual and society by noting how lower-income neighborhoods have fewer establishments that sell healthy fresh produce. Instead, such neighborhoods tend to be dominated by fast food chains that sell affordable but not necessarily healthier food. If I recall correctly, this is the same problem that has contributed to the steep rise in obesity among younger populations in lower-income communities. The impact of fast food on the health of high school students has been mostly negative. Hence, this is clearly more an issue of accessibility rather than choice, and it is further mediated by factors such as economics, policy-making, and culture.
I would also like to add to your post that gaps in our healthcare system have other negative effects on society. The rising cost of healthcare and the overly complicated payment system are preventing people from getting the care they need. I think the United States is probably the only developed country in the world without universal healthcare coverage. This has dire consequences for vulnerable populations, especially those who are earning minimum wage as well as immigrants who are just starting to plant their roots in this country. Furthermore, our economy is suffering from the burden of poor healthcare. If I recall correctly, our country loses hundreds of billions of dollars every year from lost productivity due to untreated illnesses like coronary heart disease and diabetes . Unless the government fixes our healthcare, we will continue to suffer the results of this broken system individually and collectively.
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Kishan, H. & Ganguly, S. (2022, March 2). U.S. house prices to rise another 10% this year . Reuters. https://www.reuters.com/business/us-house-prices-rise-another-10-this-year-2022-03-02/
Mills, C. W. (1959). The sociological imagination. Oxford University Press.
Urbi, J. (2021, December 15). Why New York’s Billionaires’ Row is half empty. The B1M. https://www.theb1m.com/video/why-new-yorks-billionaires-row-is-half-empty