Thursday, December 20, 2007

The sociological perspective is a particular way of approaching a phenomena common in sociology. It involves maintaining objectivity, not by divesting oneself of values, but by critically evaluating and testing ideas, and accepting what may be surprising or even displeasing based on the evidence. The sociological perspective often assumes that "official" explanations are incomplete or self-serving. It involves a conscious effort to go beyond the obvious and question what is accepted as true or common sense. This is important because common sense assumptions are usually based on very limited observation. Moreover, the premises on which common sense assumptions are based are seldom examined. While sociological research might confirm common sense observation, its broader observation base and theoretical rational provide a stronger basis for conclusions.
The sociological perspective helps us to see general social patterns in the behaviour of particular individuals and offers insights about the social world that extend far beyond explanations that rely on individual quirks and personalities. Essential to the sociological perspective is the sociological imagination. This term, attributed to C. Wright Mills, means "...the vivid awareness of the relationship between experience and the wider society." It means going beyond the individual and understanding how structural forces shape individuals and their action.
The sociological perspective, as a broad way of approaching phenomena, is different to a sociological paradigm, which is a specific set of assumptions that frame a sociologist's theories and findings.

Sociological perspective See also

Sociological imagination
Sociological theory