In chapter 1 we read about the concept “The Sociological Imagination” as applied to unemployment and in lecture the concept was applied using the example of drinking a cup of coffee. C. Wright Mills calls us to “take on” this way of analyzing our social world, considering the interdependence between who we are as individuals and the social forces that shape our lives…and this activity is an attempt for you to engage in this process! Here, I am calling you to apply the sociological imagination to our social experience with the cell phone. In a 2021 study of adult cell phone usage, it was found that Americans check their devices on average 344 times per day, or about every 4 minutes of the time they don’t sleep. The smart phone has had a profound impact on our social lives since it’s development and diffusion throughout our culture…and is therefore an interesting social phenomenon for sociological investigation.
In part 1 you will start by working your way through the questions below which will help you think critically about our ordinary experiences with the cell phone. (you can provide your responses in bullet form but you do need to do a deep dive…going beyond surface level observations).
In part 2, watch the two short film clips which describe cell phone addiction and extoll the benefits of living without a smartphone; then reflect on the question prompts.
Finally, in part 3 reflect on the process you went through in part one (engaging in deep, critical thought on the experience/influence of cell phones) and reflections in part two, considering the benefits and challenges of taking on the sociological imagination to understand the social world.
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