SOCIOLOGICALIMAGINATION: BEING A HOMELESS PERSON AND THE BROADER ISSUE OF POVERTYIN SOCIETY
Asadvance by Wright, the theory of sociological imagination argues theassertion that individuals and the society are interconnected inthat they depend on each other and that one cannot be understood withthe exclusion of the other(Mills,1967).Wright observed that whatever happens in an individual’s life hasimpact and consequences in the wider society. Sociologicalimagination enables reflective thinking in establishing therelationship that exists between individuals and the societies inwhich they dwell(Mills,1967).As such, this paper looks at the problem of being a homeless personand the broader issue of poverty in society. The paper relates theindividual’s problem of being homeless to its broader impact in thesociety through the lens of sociological imagination. The paperattempts to answer the individual’s question on whether they arealone in their problems by helping them think about ‘themselves’as a group not only from the individual perspective.
Homelessnesscould be defined differently by different people all depending onwhat kind of picture was painted in their minds during study, fromcircumstances or from observation. When many people here abouthomelessness, they think about someone spending nights on alleys andstreets or in pit where they have no shelter. However, the definitionrequires a broader coverage. Those who depend on a well-meaningfamilies for shelter are also homeless. Those who are compelled bycircumstances to dwell at friends’, those who live in their cars oreven those with temporary shelters are also all homeless. This is thefirst step to understanding homelessness in the broader perspectiveof the society. It is poverty that is the main cause of homelessnessin the society.
Homelessnessfurther intensifies the problem of poverty in the society.Individuals or families that lack a permanent address find it hard tofind jobs as they not reachable at all times children’s educationbecomes hard to administer and the access to social services becausean uphill task. All these problem are encountered by the individualhowever, they are structured by the society. The individuals are moreor less victims of circumstances. As a resort, theyend up beingstressed, disillusioned and they become reliant on alcohol and otherdrugs. These habits do not, in any way, help in solving theirproblems they only give them false illusions that they problems arebeing suppressed. However, the situation worsens day in day out.
Sociologicalimagination is a theory that proposes that individuals can minimizethe impacts of their problems or misfortunes by looking at them inthe broader perspective of the society(Mills,1967).In this case, Homeless people ought not to be devastated that theyare the only ones who are going through the challenge there areothers all over who experience the same. They also ought tounderstand how much the society influences the state of the problemof homelessness. The feeling of isolation is destructive but when itis changed to that of communal affliction, it becomes lessvolatile(PopularSocial Science, 2013).From there an individual gets composure to forge a way out of theproblem. In the same way, a homeless person will feel a bit relievedto know that they are better off than others who the fangs of povertyhave drained dry. Giving the problem a social perspective facilitatesmore understanding of the problem and solutions are hence attainable.
Mills,C. (1967). Thesociological imagination(1st ed.). London: Oxford University Press.
PopularSocial Science. (2013). The Sociological Imagination: ThinkingOutside the Box. Retrieved 29 August 2014, fromhttp://www.popularsocialscience.com/2013/04/29/the-sociological-imagination-thinking-outside-the-box/