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The Role Of Empathy In Sociological Imagination

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Sam Richards describes empathy in his talk on TED talk as a way in which covert things shape human beings. In a broad view of sociology, it mainly comprises of understanding other people’s situations and viewing issues as they do. Richard’s idea is to bring to the society to the point that they will view the world broadly to understand matters beyond them. Empathy is an essential aspect of sociological imagination as it helps people think beyond themselves and also to understand the world beyond them. Sociological imagination is the capacity to appreciate the fundamental structures responsible for personal problems (Selwyn, 2017).

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This paper will focus on an individual experience based on the viewpoint of an outsider, how social structures influence the experience and the theory that best applies to the experience.My personal experience is based on a seminar that I attended that was focusing on unemployment. Joblessness is a dominant issue in most developing nations such as those in the continent of Africa. From the viewpoint of an individual living in developed countries such as the U.S, he may find that joblessness is caused by laziness. In another point of view, it may be as a result of a personal inability to develop their skills. Hence, they end up as non-performing members of the society. Also, joblessness result from one losing his/her job due to failure to deliver quality skills to his/her employer.

Therefore, an outsider will find joblessness as an attribute of problems caused by an individual other than problems experienced by most countries.Unemployment is an issue that is profoundly influenced by social structures such as historical aspects. In a closer look at developing countries as opposed to developed countries, the issue of poverty can be dated back to colonization era. The people in these developing nations developed a perception of dependency on their colonizing powers such that they lost their ability to unleash their potent strength. Hence, the joblessness menace is not a personal problem but an issue of the public. Also, after the people became educated in the developing nations, they opted to look for jobs abroad instead of developing their societies.

As a result, there has also been an adamant unemployment issue in the developed countries as people flood there to look for excellent jobs.In sociology, four critical theories describe societal experiences by different members. The theories include feminism, structural-functional theory, social conflict theory, and symbol interactionism theory. In my personal experience, the best perspective that applies effectively is the social conflict theory. According to this theory, the society is a system comprised of different groups, which keep on having different issues (Van & Besthorn, 2017). In the nation where there are both employed and unemployed groups of people, there are immeasurable aspects of inequality demonstrated in the way people live.

For instance, unemployed people especially the young will indulge in drug and substance abuse leading them to insanity, prostitution, and death among others. Conversely, employed people will focus on building their lives by gaining more skills, thus, leading to the economic growth of their country. Therefore, the social conflict theory explains why people in the same social experience different social trends, which is a possible prediction of future changes.Social imagination, therefore, helps people to identify the causes of various challenges evident in the society, by determining the cause. It defines the personal problems of individuals and relates them to the broader community. Thus, it empathizes with people’s problems to solve them, instead of blaming people for their failures.

07 September 2020

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