Sociological Imagination essay I have attached the file below. please read the discussion lecture and complete the discussion question which is on the last

Sociological Imagination essay I have attached the file below. please read the discussion lecture and complete the discussion question which is on the last page. The post must be minimum of 2 paragraphs. The topic is about sports/cultures. Complete the post from a guys perspective. DISCUSSION LECTURE:
Similar to our video, the first half of this chapter gives up a broad introduction into the sociology of sport.
After enrolling in this class and after watching Not Just a Game: it may seem obvious that
sport is worthy of scientific study, but many outsiders are surprised that there is a sociological field dedicated to
sports. Sport may appear to be a trivial topic, but we as academics and athletes know it is something much more. We
know that it is a very important site of study because the vast majority of Americans engage in sport or fitness
programs. We know that in North America sport is a massive industry ($500 billion), and nearly 1/5 of major TV
network time is dedicated to sports. Studying sports helps us understand ourselves and society as a whole. Also, the
study of sport may act as a transition for some of us as we move from athlete to student to academic or administrator
within sports.
Our first problem when thinking about studying sport is how do we actually define sport? Our textbook says, “sport is
any form of playful competition whose outcome is determined by skill, strategy, or chance employed singly or in
combination.” Do you agree? What do you think is the difference between engaging in play, playing a game, and
participating in a sport?
The next problem we encounter is trying to define sociology. I don’t think anyone in the course is a sociology major,
so this might be a little difficult for us. Basically, sociology is the systematic study of social behavior. As sociologists
we attempt to understand interpersonal behavior, group behavior, and behavior in large organizations. We are
especially interested in patterns that occur within the social world. While psychologists often look at internal factors
for behavior, sociologists look at the social world to understand why we act the way we do, why we like and dislike
the things we do, and why society functions the way it functions. Sociology heavily overlaps with psychology,
economics, political science, history, and anthropology. (My research lands firmly within the overlap between
sociology and psychology.)
Sociology rests on a few key assumptions. First, sociologists assume that individuals are naturally social beings. We
support this assumption with the fact that when we all enter the world, we are entirely dependent on others and
because of this dependency we are entirely immersed in a social group from day one. We also support this
assumption through the fact that people have come together for defense, to obtain material comforts, to overcome
nature, and to improve our technology. (If any of you have taken a political philosophy class this may remind you of
Hobbes’s ideas about why humans decided to leave “the state of nature.”)
Second (and closely related), sociologists assume that individuals are socially determined. This means we are
products of our social environments. So while biology may determine our characteristics, socially we learn how to
interact and understand these characteristics. Our parents, family, and neighborhood play an important role in
determining our identities. When we are young the only way to interpret the world is the way that our parents interpret
the world. As we age our views often expand, but this initial socialization likely plays a large role in our identities
throughout our lives. The society we are born into shapes our lives, personalities, identities, thoughts, emotions, and
so on. Sociology focuses on examining the social forces that shape us. Please note that sociologists understand that
our interactions, those around us, and society shape us, but do not determine us. Humans have free-will or agency,
however, it is constrained and influenced by various social forces.
For example, think of the fact that we often inherit our religion, which may play a very large role in how we understand
ourselves and our world. We are shown and we adopt specific religious values and behaviors, which then
dramatically shape our identities. Also, think of how various cultures respond to spicy foods. As Americans, like those
in Mexico and Korea, we often enjoy spicy foods. However, I’ve spent a fair amount of time in Russia and Finland and
in these countries, it is very common for people to despise spicy foods. I was recently having dinner at a ramen place
in NYC with a Russian friend who had come to visit. My wife and I were enjoying our spicy ramen and our friend had
ordered a broth that we considered rather bland. I asked my friend, “What is the deal? Why is it that I had a hard time
finding spicy food in Russia and you got the blandest broth possible?” My friend paused, put down his chopsticks,
and said, “Life in Russia is hard enough. Why would we want our meals to be a battle?” I thought this was an
interesting rationalization, but the key point here is that physically we all react the same to spicy foods, but some of
us, based on the society that we were born into, have learned to interpret those physical reactions differently.
Third and finally, sociologists assume that individuals create, sustain, and change the social world through how they
conduct their lives. Basically, groups and institutions are created and sustained by people through their interactions.
Individuals, through collective action, can change the structure of society. Individuals are not passive robots that
mindlessly take in directions, but individuals are constantly shaping the social world by adapting to it, negotiating it,
and changing it. However, the social structures that we create often resist change and constrict our behaviors. Group
expectations, institutional expectations, and societal expectations, can take on a sacred quality, which inhibits our
ability to change them. We create a social world that then may dominate us (to some extent as we still retain freewill).
For example, think of an individual who believes that a baseball game should only have 8 innings. He might want to
walk off the field after the 8th inning finishes, but he may feel that walking off is “wrong.” Also, if he leaves he knows
that his peers will likely be upset that he isn’t playing the full game and he may not be asked to play another game.
Alternatively, think if you had gone into the city for a night with your friends. On this night, you were the responsible
designated driver and you were stuck driving everyone home from the city. After you dropped off your last passenger
around 3:30 AM, you got stuck at a red light that would not turn green. There were no cops around and in all
likelihood you could have probably treated the red light as you would a stop sign. However, something inside you
might have said, “This isn’t just illegal, it is really wrong.” You could have used your own free-will to drive through the
light but it would have taken quite a bit of willpower to push past the sacred norm that you’ve been taught since a very
young age. It is very hard to push past the internalized norm that “red means stop and stay stopped.”
Finally, the last thing I want to go over from the first half of chapter 1 is the sociological imagination. This is a very
important sociological tool and one that I want you to practice using. In order to properly develop and use your
sociological imagination you must develop an awareness of the relationships between yourself and the broader
society. You will need to understand that your individual circumstances are linked to the structure of society. The
sociological imagination allows us to realize the connection between our immediate personal lives and the detached
impersonal social world that surrounds and shapes our lives. As Americans, this can be rather difficult as our culture
puts a great deal of emphasis on the individual and often underplays the context of our lives. Here, we will need to
step back and really think about the individual’s relationship to the social, economic, and historical circumstances that
produces problems and opportunities for him or her. We need to be able to look for the social patterns that influence
individuals, families, and organizations. And, we need to question the taken for granted “common sense”
explanations that those around us often use to explain the world.
For example, I once had a student at the University at Buffalo (a school with 30K students) come up with the problem
that it was difficult to make friends at the university. While this easily could be viewed as a personal problem, she
went on to explain that UB was a difficult place to make friends because it was so big. She rarely sat next to the same
person more than once, her classes that had over 300 students felt impersonal, and many of her classrooms were
not designed for student interaction but simply for passive listening to lectures. This made a lot of sense and was a
great use of her sociological imagination.
So, here, I would like you to use your sociological imagination and think about a personal problem
that you’ve experienced in sport and explain it sociologically. What cultural, historical, economic, or political issues
may directly relate to your problem. How might your problem appear to be a personal issue, even though it is actually
a social issue within the field of sport?
The post should be about two paragraphs longs.

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