This paper discusses the way in which sociologists use critical thinking to de-familiarise common sense assumptions about social life while discussing specific terms such as the sociological imagination, empirical data and the social theory. This essay draws upon the issue of suicide among males living in remote Australian areas as a broad social issue apposed to being a private trouble of the individual.
We tend to view certain experiences in our lives as a single private issue. However, this trouble can be viewed as a wider social problem. The sociological imagination is a sociological perspective which observes the world in a critical way and makes clear links between the private problems of the individual and important social issues (Scott & Marshall 2008). Anthony Giddens (1986:13) argues that there are three forms of sensibility that together make up the sociological imagination, these include; historical, anthropological insight and critical thinking.
Sociologists use critical thinking to debunk every day common sense assumptions about human behaviour and social life (Mills 1959:2). For example; suicide among males in Australia may be viewed as a private problem of the individual. However, a high percentage of these males live in remote areas compared to those who live in major cities (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2011, Australian Social Trends, Cat. No. 4102.0, Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra), which in fact suggests that this issue in fact is a wider social issue. Sociologists ask the question why and attempt to find the connections between the private problem of suicide and the wider social issue.
Sociologists collect and use empirical data when debunking such common sense assumptions as the issue previously discussed. Empirical data is evidence that we can confirm from our senses and is used when evaluating the relationships between...