Sociologyis a study that focuses on social institutions and relationships. Itis a significant field that provides the basis for analyzing andexplaining important matters that affect personal lives, community,and the world at large. However, sociology is a diverse field thatrange from religion to crime, from a family to the state, from sharedvalues to division of people on the basis of social class, and fromradical changes in the entire society to social stability. The ideaof sociologicalimaginationindicates that people understand concepts differently. These callsfor the use of imaginative thoughts to inquire and respond tosociological questions in a way that help people think different fromtheir familiar practices and routines. In addition, the theory ofsocialconstruction of realityencourages people to examine the understanding of the world usingassumptions that are shared by members of the society. In this paper,three sociological topics (including education, gender inequality,and ethnicity as well as race) will be discussed.
Inorder for ethnic and racial relations to remain functional and make acontribution towards the stability, the minority groups should beable to assimilate into that society. Under the theoryof functionalism,the idea of assimilation is defined as the process through which theminority groups are absorbed economically, culturally, and sociallyinto the society. This implies that the aspect of equality needs tobe harnessed in order to ensure that even the minority groups have anequal access to social, cultural, and economic opportunities.Similarly, the theory of symbolic interaction holds that a perceptionof equality in the society can reduce chances of hostility orconflict to occur when people of different ethnic or racialbackgrounds come into contact. For example, the chances of the ArabAmericans attacking the white Americans can be reduced if equality isobserved in all aspects of life.
Ethnicityand race are institutions or social process that Americans andcitizens of other countries experience on a daily basis. My view ofrace and ethnicity relates to the theory of functionalism, whichholds that a functional society can be established if people from theminority groups integrate successfully into the larger society. Themost surprising idea gained from this topic is that the possibilityof hostility taking place whenever people from different racial orethnic groups come into contact depends on the perception of equaltreatment. Unfortunately, the media have only given the picture ofthe negative side of the topic of race and ethnicity. For example, itis difficult to find news of a particular neighborhood where peoplefrom different ethnic groups have achieved development by workingtogether. On the contrary, it is easier to find news of violentincidents that resulted from ethnic or racial differences. The topicchanged the way I see the society and helped me realize that it ispossible to consider these differences as sources of strength, asopposed to the causes of hostility. I will use this knowledge to findthe strengths and lessons that I can learn from people who come fromdifferent ethnic or racial groups.
Sociologyof gender explores how the society influences the human understandingof the differences that exist between femininity and masculinity. Thetheoryof functionalitysees the society as a complex system that has different parts. Theseparts are expected to work together with the objective of promotingstability and solidarity. Similarly, the theory of symbolicinteractionismholds that social interaction that occurs between people of differentgenders provide the platform for the advancement of social, economic,and political welfare of all members of the society. Although genderroles contribute towards stable social interactions, the influencethat the society has made on the perception held by its members aboutgender differences determine whether social stability will beattained or not. In most cases, gender inequality arises when womenare treated unfairly. For example, paying women less than the amountthat men earn for doing a similar job can be described as genderinequality.
Althoughthe gap in gender equality has been reduced over the years, I haveexperienced a few cases of inequality in families that boys at theexpense of the girl-child, especially when these families faceresource constraints. I relate to the theory of functionality, whichholds that the society is a single unit with parts that shouldcollaborate to help the community achieve a balanced development. Thesurprising idea learned in this topic is that gender roles make acontribution towards social stability, even in the modern society.The media have given adequate publicity to the issue of genderinequality, which has forced the society to adopt different measures(including the affirmative action) in order to enhance equality indifferent institutions, such as schools and politics. The study ofthe topic did not change my thought about gender inequality, but itadvanced my knowledge by helping me understand that enhancing genderequality can enable the society achieve a balanced development. Iwill apply this knowledge to enhance my ability to appreciate peopleof the opposite gender and promote equality whenever I get aleadership position in the future.
Theeducation system serves different functions (including socialization,social placement, and social integration) in a society andfacilitates the development of gender roles as well as the teacher’sexpectations. The perspectiveof functionalismholds that education is an important tool that conveys knowledge fromone generation to the next, which help learners to integrate well inthe society. For example, schools teach norms (such as respect forelders and authorities) besides the normal learning, which increasethe capacity of students to socialize and integrate with people whodo not belong to their age group or ethnic backgrounds. Socialplacementis achieved by ensuring that students are taught the skills that theyneed at a given stage of life. Similarly, the theoretical perspectiveof symbolic interactionism holds that education provides learnerswith the opportunity to interact in the classroom, which creates aplatform for the development of gender roles.
Ibelieve that the education system has played a significant role inenhancing my capacity to interact with other people. I subscribe tothe theory of functionalism because the education created a platformon which I could learn skills that have helped me integrate withpeople from different social and cultural backgrounds. One of thesurprising ideas about the topic is a revelation that education playsthe role of facilitating cultural innovation, which fills the gapleft by scientific discoveries. Although the topic of educationfeatures frequently in the media, its role in enhancing socialinteraction is quite inadequate. The coverage of the topic helped mesee education, not just as a tool for enhancing my employability, butalso as a platform to increase my capacity to interact and learn fromothers on important matters that are not related to career.Therefore, the knowledge gained on this topic will help me focus onbuilding social relationship at school, work, and other settings,since socialnetworkingprovides a platform to learn from others.
Thethree topics covered in this paper are related to each other in thatgender inequality, ethnicity and race are some of the key factorsthat have prevented the marginalized groups from accessing qualityeducation. Cultivating in my sociological imagination will help mequestion issues using the ideas that are upheld by the society,instead of relying on my own perceptions. This will help and my peersto shift from one perspective to another when addressing sociologicalissues. Sociological imagination has changed my perspective byhelping me understand that people see things from differentperspectives, which implies that one has to respect the opinions ofother people. The use of the sociological imagination will reduceconflicts in the society. In overall, the class was enlightening inthat it helped learners acquire new skills that will reduce conflictin social settings. This is because students who attended the classwill be able to understand the sources of inequalities as well asconflicts in social settings and adopt measures that will enhancesocial stability.