What is sociological imagination? According to C. Wright Mills sociological imagination is the ability to see how individual experiences are connected to the larger society. Sociological perspective enables one to grasp connection to history and biography. History is the background and biography is the individual’s specific experiences. C.Wright Mills came up with the idea that in order for one to understand their personal lives the need to look beyond personal experiences and look at larger political, social, and economic issues of others. “It is the capacity to range from the most impersonal and remote transformations to the most intimate features of the human self — and to see the relations between the two” (C. Wright Mills 3). Overall, sociological imagination is the awareness of the relationship between personal experience and society.
The documentary Sicko gives examples of sociological imagination. Sicko is a documentary film by Michael Moore. Michael Moore interviews Americans who have been denied treatment by our health care insurance companies. Throughout the documentary Michael Moore investigates health care within the United States. Moore compares health maintenance organizations in America to free health care in Canada, France, and the Great Britain. He shows viewers that the prisoners in Guantanamo have better medical treatment than some people in the United States. In the end, Michael Moore gets participants of his documentary free medical assistance in Cuba. One example of sociological imagination in the documentary Sicko are the meeting of some volunteer 9/11 rescue workers. Most of them suffer from respiratory problems or other health issues. One person also suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.
One would think these people have great health insurance because of their volunteer work during a very huge crisis in America, but that isn’t the case. Insurance companies denied these volunteer workers health care, due to the fact that they were not on the job or getting payed for their line of duty. In the documentary Moore shows viewers how terrorists at a prison in Guantanamo Bay receive free government health care. From the experiences of 9/11 volunteers, I understand that the government appreciates their help towards the tragedy, but not enough to guarantee them health insurance. Another example of sociological imagination in Sicko was a woman name Adrian who had cervical cancer. Adrian was denied insurance for her treatments because health care insurance company said she was too young to be diagnosed with cervical cancer.
Adrian eventually goes to Canada to receive medical treatment. Canada’s health care is affordable for their citizens. From Adrian’s treatment I understood the struggles some have to go through in order to receive certain medical treatments. The third example of sociological imagination within the documentary Sicko is that the citizens of France, Canada, and the Great Britain, etc. are expected to live longer than Americans. The average French person lives 3 years longer than an American. British people are also said to be healthier than Americans. In order for the American society to become better, we as Americans need to look at the medical treatment in other countries and see what we take for granted and maybe we could eventually be a better health insured country. Sicko was an eye opener.
I actually had a talk with one of my friends that attend New Jersey City University, who majors in sociology, about the better health insurance and medical treatment in other countries. I even recommended that she watches the documentary. I dont understand why it seems as though the more money a country has the less health insurance the country has. Americans constantly preach patriotism, but America barely gives health insurance to those who put their life on the line in order to voluntarily help with rescuing people from the 9/11 attack. If it wasn’t for C. Wright Mills explanation of sociological imagination and Michael Moore’s documentary I would not care about the struggles other Americans go through with health insurance because I am fortunate to receive health insurance, but these two great men changed my view on th health of American citizens. “For that imagination is the capacity to switch from one perspective to another” (C. Wright Mills 3).