Sociological Imagination

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While a person is able to control some of his life chances and opportunities, some things are given, or ascribed, to them that are beyond their control. For example, if a person is not born into the upper elite class, there is very little chance that he will ever make it there, regardless of his income or wealth. There are many factors that combine to shape a person's life chances and lifestyle. The two main factors include the sociological imagination and social stratification.

The sociological imagination can be explained in different ways. Quite simply, it tries to connect one's individual biography with his or her history and structure. What people need, according to Mills, "is a quality of mind that will help them use information and to develop reason  to better understand the world and "what may be happening within themselves  (Mills 2002, 8). In order to fully possess the sociological imagination, one must be aware of his position within social structure and the opportunities and/or limitations that a specific position creates.

Social structure is the framework that shapes but doesn't necessarily determine our lives. Charon states, "our position in each social str

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