There is a relationship between the experiencesbetween individuals and the society and this relationship is formed by whatindividuals do , environmental influences such as values and norms,interpersonal relationships and many more (Mills, 1959). The understanding ofthis relationship is essential, because without it, individuals and societiescannot be understood singularly (Mills 1959, cited in Isasken, 2013).Mills works emphasizes that often times, challengesthat confront people can sometimes be beyond their direct control but thechallenge may also be influenced by the society they live in, includinghistory. This is justified as significant others may be faced with the samechallenge.
Therefore, it can be deduced that apart from personal influence,there is an external force that is rooted in the societal structure of the environmentthat influences the situation. For example 31.3% of young people aged Eighteen(18) are at risk of poverty (Eurostat, 2017). There could be several factorsresponsible for this statistical situation, the factors may include; highunemployment rates, low access to education, inequitable distribution ofincome, unpleasant health situation, and many others.
In the case of poverty, some of the people accountedfor, may lack basic skills or may be behaviorally flawed, but there aredefinitely external factors that contribute to the number, because not all ofthem will have the same incapabilities. Similarly, as regards gender relations,there are individual beliefs that have placed a gender as superior to the other,but there are factors in the structure of societies, which have influenced theminds of people to assume these positions in the society.Mill’s idea of sociological imagination is thebedrock of the practice of sociology. It enables the understanding of biographyand history, including the relationship they share in the society.
According toMill, deficits such as unemployment, problems in marriages and war, should beexamined beyond individual influences, but should be extended to structures,histories, values, culture and their faults. In the case of marriages, maritalfailures that lead to divorce are functions of failed and faulty institutionsthat are related with marriage, the family and other institutions. For example,if 415 of 1200 marriages fail in the early stage, it is an indication offailure of the partners, the family, society, the religious institutions andothers that have influencing powers over marriages, according to Mills.
In Mill’s opinion, the family institution enslaveswomen and subjects them to the superiority of their husbands, while men areallowed to take the full responsibility of providing for the needs of thefamily. There is a complete dependence on men by their families. This is animpaired system already created and this hierarchical structure defines theplace of the woman and the man in the family. Similarly, Weber definedpatriarchy as a system of Government which is ruled by men and women areoppressed and dominated.
Moreover, the support position women were placed inprocreation, has been socially redefined and gender inequality has resulted dueto the social process. As a result, gender relations has become the guide forsocial processes. The gender sensitivityof societies and institutions, such as marriages, has long been operational incultural sociology with gendered assumptions inculcated in social policies,gender isolation in labor market and in performing domestic duties. Women haveoccupied subordinate positions in the business world, economic environments andthey have been cornered to bearing the responsibility of Housekeeping and childbearing.
This situation is still operating but is slowly shadowing to vanish.Women have been defined and characterized by their weaknesses and they havebeen referred to as incapable to equally contribute to meeting family needs astheir husbands.Feminist researcheshave validated the experiences of women in various business environments byconducting researches such as the roles of sexualities in workplaces, and men’sroles in the social and economic systems have been gender defined, especiallyin positions of power. The attribution of gender to high or low performance is verycommon at workplaces and political spheres. There is amusement when womenperform beyond expectation, because “a woman did that?!”. In an attempt forresolution, Wright Mills discovered that for social, economic and politicalchange to occur, there has to be an infusion of critical and imaginativeconjuncture between the public and the private spheres in sociological researchand until then, can an equitable society, where every individual has a fair andequal chance to survive and excel, without sentiments about their gender, beachieved.
However, in the modern society today, the presence of women isbeginning to increase in the public sector of paid work and men are taking theroles of housekeeping. This is not indicative of role switch, but that equalityis gradually prevailing.Mill provided a bifocalview into social problems through “the private troubles of personal milieu” and”the public issues of social structure” (Mills 1959, Pg. 8), in his book “thesocial imagination”.
He expressed that social life can be comprehended throughthe complimentary request of logical examination and political determination (Kemple and Mawani, 2016). He emphasized the need forthe understanding of individuals and the society, before solving the problemsof individuals and the society, singularly. In addition, Millspresented that Biography usually meets history, that is, an individual has hisown story (Biography) and the person is influenced by the people who have livedor come to life before them (History). People often take to believe that theyhave control over themselves, and play ignorant to the fact that society hasways of influencing their thoughts and actions.