Macionis the thoughts/beliefs, behavior, and objects of a particular

Macionis defines sociology as the “systematic study of human society”(2016, p.3). This field of study incorporates the different types of people that make up the world, their way of life, their environment, and the beliefs that govern their behavior.  However, everyone in society is met with challenges and hindrances that affect these aspects of their life. A particular way these areas of society are studied and understood is through the concept of the sociological imagination. According to Wright Mills, the sociological imagination is a concept of self-consciousness through which an individual becomes aware of the relationship between society and his/her place in it (1959, p. 3).This encompasses thinking from a different perspective of how the framework of society affects one’s daily life.The sociological imagination allows one to assess their place in society and gauge where their future is headed (1959, p.5). This awareness allows them to make the necessary changes they desire in hopes to change particular situations they are faced with or if nothing else, be aware of the course of events and affairs of their life in relation to the bigger picture of society so that they are able to at least understand their situations. This perspective can be applied to many concepts of sociology, such as culture, social stratification, global stratification, race and ethnicity, and social change in order to better understand the world.            Culture is one aspect of sociology that refers a way of life that includes the thoughts/beliefs, behavior, and objects of a particular society (Macionis, 2016, p.44). These aspects differ from society to society in terms of language, symbols, and values of a culture, but provide the basis of behavior for different types of people. Language, for instance, allows people within a particular community to communicate with each other. As Macionis describes culture as “our link to the past and our guide to the future”, it is through the culture of language, people are able to pass their culture onto the next generation through cultural transmission by communicating the values and behavior significant to their lives (2016, pg.50). Specific to each culture, there are mores and folkways that societies consider as values that govern what norms or appropriate behavior is. Mores consist of norms that have significant moral implications and distinguish right from wrong, such as the sanctity of human life that prohibits murder. These are generally the same throughout different cultures because they consist of universal morals. Folkways, on the other hand, vary across cultures and pertain to norms that distinguish right from rude in terms of interaction(Macionis, 2016, p. 53). For instance, in an individualistic society like the U.S, parties often consist of people that do not necessarily know everyone else. In this case, it is not peculiar if a person does not greet everyone he/she sees. It may be considered rude depending on the individual, but will not generally cause any harm. However, in a society that values family bonds with a higher importance, parties may consist of several entire families. In this case, for a person to not greet another would come off as rude and awkward, and may even create certain grudges, but still will not lead to serious consequences.  A sociological perspective can be applied to the concept of culture by understanding that different cultures hold particular values and beliefs close to them. In a world made up of many different types cultures that interact with each other in a multicultural country like the United States,  it is important to practice cultural relativism, by educating oneself to be aware of certain cultural notions people practice and the reasoning behind them(Macionis, 2016, p.62). The United States, for example, values individualism, the principle of working hard for oneself. However, in a country like Pakistan, culture heavily stresses on family relationships and keeping these bonds. There, any success is shared with family. Therefore, to understand the way of life particular to these two cultures allows for a greater understanding and acceptance of the different people that make up society.            Different cultures interplay with race and ethnicity. Both are socially constructed concepts where race refers to categories based on biological traits of people and ethnicity refers to cultural traits of people (Macionis, 2016, p. 302-304. The concept of race is fixed, as it is widely attributed according to an individual’s skin color. Ethnicity is a concept more fluid because it is up to the individual to decide what cultural aspects they want to hold close to themselves. Race and ethnicity rank people into categories and can lead to minority groups, where groups of people are distinguished from the mainstream culture based on physical and/or cultural differences that sets them apart and often outside the margins of society (Macionis, 2016, p. 305). Because people are apt to associate and befriend people that are very similar to them, anyone different can become strange to accept. Ethnocentrism is a concept that refers to judging people according to one’s own standards (Macionis, 2016, p.62). Not only does this expand the divide separating people, it can lead to prejudice and racism that can have serious implications. While prejudice consists of rigid generalizations of people and racism claims one race superior or inferior to another, people begin to divide amongst themselves(Macionis, 2016, p. 309). For example, if a person is racist to towards African Americans, they may reject a particular African American applicant for a job he/she is completely qualified for just on the basis of prejudice and stereotypes that create assumptions of people that aren’t true overall. Instead, to apply a sociological perspective and assess why such prejudice exists and the detriment of such thinking can educate masses out of their ignorance.            Social Stratification is another concept in sociology. Macionis describes it as the “system by which a society ranks categories of people in a hierarchy” (2016, p. 207). This hierarchy places people in these categories in terms of money, as well as their education, health, and influence of power. An important principle of social stratification is that it tends to carry over from generation to generation. Macionis explains the trend that the social position of young adults is similar to the ones their parents held (2016, 208). For example, the child of a lawyer is likely to pursue a white-collar job like their parent, because they will have gotten academic and financial resources that their parent provided through his/her job. They may also experience social mobility, movement between the categories of stratification. This movement can be up a category, down a category, or horizontal. There is a likely chance that a lawyer’s child will move horizontally, in that he/she will retain a position at the same level of his/her parent such as the career of a doctor or accountant (Macionis, 2016, p. 208). This system takes personal affairs and puts them in a broader scope of public issues. For example, if a particular individual lives on the poorer side of town, struggles to make ends meet, and works three jobs there is a significant chance that he/she is not the only one facing these obstacles. Although money and living conditions is a personal issue for this individual, a pattern of this contributes to a public issue (Macionis, 2016, p.11).  Sociology looks for the patterns in society and by studying how many people’s lives are similar to this individual, a sociologist is able to assess why people are in this position. The same way a lawyer’s child will most likely stay in a particular social position, the child of a parent in poverty is likely to struggle as much as well. Pertaining to the concept of poverty, people that may not relate to this struggle may blame someone as responsible for their problems. Others, by adopting the sociological imagination, may realize that poverty often arises because there aren’t job opportunities for such people or enough pay to sustain a person and their family in this situation (Macionis, 2016, p. 236-237). Through this sociological perspective, one recognizes the public scope of personal issues and can lead to such problems being recognized and solved.              While Social Stratification focuses primarily on social hierarchy within a country, global stratification ranks countries in a hierarchy comparing them on a global scale. This system encompasses patterns of inequality that exist in the world and ranks countries as high income, middle income, and low income (Macionis, 2016, 249). High-income countries have the highest standard of living, where wealth, goods/services, education, and healthcare available to its people for their necessity and comfort. These countries include the U.S, Canada, Australia and New Zealand among others whose people “enjoy 59 percent of the world’s total income”(Macionis, 2016, p.269). Middle-income countries have an average standard of living compared to the rest of the world and include Egypt, Peru, and Indonesia. Low-income countries have a low standard of living, including the nations of Bangladesh, Chad, and Ethiopia, where most people are poor. These countries acquire only 3% of the world’s total income (Macionis, 2016, p. 269) To explain this global inequality sociology presents two theories; modernization and dependency theory. Modernization theory states that global inequality is relative to the technological and cultural differences between countries. According to this theory, advanced technology attributes to affluent nations that promote innovation and progress (Macionis, 2016, p. 260). The countries that hold most of the world’s wealth are described to help poorer countries by providing foreign aid in terms of economic resources, introduce information technology, as well as food production to increase agricultural success. Dependency theory states that the fact that poor countries only produce a few crops to export, lack an industrial capacity, depend on rich countries to buy their inexpensive raw materials, and have enormous debt, lead such countries to depend on rich ones to survive. The theory argues that such circumstances have been put in place for decades because of the history in which rich nations have exploited poor ones politically and financially (Macionis, 2016, p. 262). Awareness of these theories helps explain why global inequality exists and can allow people to recognize where they fall on an individual, local, and global basis. It also helps to understand the relationships between countries and how few flourish while many tend to suffer. Such awareness allows these issues to be discussed further in hopes of change.            Macionis describes social change as the “transformation of culture and social institutions over time” (2016, p.489). There are many ways change in society can occur, such as through culture, conflict, and collective behavior. In terms of culture, technological inventions can contribute to change when they are diffused or spread within society (Macionis, 2016, p.489). The rise of cell-phones has contributed to a wave of social media applications that the majority of the U.S population use on a daily basis. This technology has spread to schools, hospitals, and business where information, goods, and ideas are communicated to others within seconds. Conflict in society can also spark notions of change (Macionis, 2016, p.490). Recent issues in American society concerning police brutality, sexual assault, and immigration have created tensions when spoken out about, bringing forth movements. These movements consist of collective behavior protests whether it be on the streets or through social media. Police brutality, for example, sparked NFL protests of kneeling during the national anthem to bring awareness to this issue. Sexual assault victims spoke out with the “MeToo” hashtag on social media to give a voice to the issue concerning harassment in Hollywood, business, and news stations demanding consequences for perpetrators. Such forms of social change have demanded the systems of society to be reassessed and reflected upon to create positive social change.            Because society is so diverse in terms of the people that make it up, as well as the components of study in the field, studying it allows for a better understanding about how these components and people relate to each other. By studying the relationship of culture, race, and ethnicity, one can understand how these concepts contribute to hierarchies amongst individuals as well as countries. This can give rise to discussions and awareness of particular conflicts in the structure of society as well as bring solutions to the table. By adopting a sociological perspective, the private concerns of life become public allowing people to see themselves in others, see the issues they thought were unique to them shared amongst others, and reevaluate the systems in place to create a safer and accepting world for people of all walks of life.