The sociological imagination and generational change
Week 2 Analysis: The sociological imagination and generational change
Directions for all discussion board posts:
Each week you will write an initial post that responds to the indicated prompt, and ends with a
question of your own. This first post is due every week by Wednesday at 11:59pm. Your
question should be empirical or analytical, but NOT ethical (avoid the verb “should” or asking
us to assess if something is good/bad, better/worse, etc. Instead, try to ask about how things
work or what things mean.) Then you will write a second post that replies to a fellow student’s
question. This is due every week by Saturday at 11:59pm. Posts submitted after this deadline
for the week will NOT receive credit. Length guidelines will vary week to week.
- Read the famous C. Wright Mills essay “The Promise” under Files/Readings
- Review this chart (http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/03/16/how-millennialscompare-with-their-grandparents/) from the Pew Research Center comparing key demographic
differences among generational cohorts, from the Silent Generation to Millennials and
everyone in between. On the left you will see a number of different variables to be explored.
You can also switch between the 2017 data for all cohorts, or the “when they were young” data
from all the generations before Millennials – this will show the data for older generations when
they were the age that Millennials are now. You may also want to review this article
(https://www.pewsocialtrends.org/essay/on-the-cusp-of-adulthood-and-facing-an-uncertainfuture-what-we-know-about-gen-z-so-far/) from Pew on Generation Z, or those born starting in
1996 and after.
- In your first post, you will do 3 things: (1) explain Mills’ concept of the sociological
imagination, and (2) apply it to one of the key generational differences that the Pew chart
reveals. Include in your post the relevant statistics from Pew that document the generation
change you are writing about – be specific. Sociology begins with empirical data. This should
be about 250 words long (2 full paragraphs).
At the end of your post, (3) pose a sociological question about the data. For example, what
might explain one of the generational differences the data reveal? What might have caused
that change? Try to think in terms of changes in our social structures and institutions (laws, the
labor force, education, criminal justice, etc) to explain this change in the data. As always,
2/22/2021 Topic: Week 2 Analysis: The sociological imagination and generational change
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please avoid asking ethical questions (they usually begin with the word “should,” and/or ask
the reader to evaluate if something is “good” or “bad.”
In your reply post you will reply to a fellow student’s question. This should be one full
paragraph long (125 words). Please stay close to the data from Pew.