Essay Sample on Sociological Imagination and Protests

Published: 2023-12-03
Essay Sample on Sociological Imagination and Protests
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Police brutality Social justice Social issue
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1793 words
15 min read

Sociologists worldwide have different approaches to societal problems and how people react (Griffiths et al., 2015). Also, people will respond differently depending on the happenings and their state of mind, and the triggers around them (Griffiths et al., 2015). Thus the extent to which a problem will affect society will depend on their community and well-being (Griffiths et al., 2015). However, sociologists have tried to merge their thinking and agree with the review presented by C.W Mills, who defines sociological imagination as exercising the awareness and the relationship between personal experience and society as a whole (Griffiths et al., 2015). There are several cases worldwide, for example, the killing of George Floyd this year. The death of George Floyd sparked a protest that did not only remain within the borders but was able to split to other European countries and other subsequent killings across the world. This paper will consider sociological imagination and the protests around the globe because of police brutality.

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Application of Sociological Imagination

Through all these happenings, it is correct to allude that the protests resulted from people being aware of their experiences and the general society, thus directed their outrage to the respective governments (Griffiths et al., 2015). Additionally, this happened because there was a course and a drive that people are fighting. Furthermore, the reactions were due to individuals being aware that they had to push their governments by going to the streets to address their issues (Griffiths et al., 2015). Therefore, the great sociologists approach this approach is equally crucial in analyzing this reaction and explaining the trends and the people involved in the protests (Williamson et al., 2018).

There is a feeling that the police act on the state's interest and that those in power should take political responsibility and answer to their grievances (Williamson et al., 2018). Thus different parts of the world are using these approaches to air out their disappointments and the need to be protected by the same government they feel is behind the brutal killings. Different situations like unemployment, failure in exams, and so on may lead someone into some thoughts hence thinking in a particular manner (Griffiths et al., 2015).

Current Affairs of Police Brutality

Police brutality has been an issue in the recent past, which has spread to most parts of the world, and in most cases, it ends up in several civilians dead (Williamson et al., 2018). Additionally, the respective governments take the blame, and people still rely on the same authorities to offer protection (Williamson et al., 2018). Furthermore, people react differently because of their surroundings being aware of how their governments handle such cases. In most cases, civilians have become more aggressive in addressing their issues so that their positions can be heard (Williamson et al., 2018). Thus the issue of police brutality is an issue that requires several laws to protect and limit the extent the law enforcement officers can act while at the same time giving them the powers to maintain law and order. Vivid examples include the happenings in the United States, Europe, and Africa in the wake of COVID-19 (Williamson et al., 2018).


Functionalism Theory

The functionalist theory emphasizes that society is like a body with many organs that need to work together and achieve the intended goals (Griffiths et al., 2015). Furthermore, in alluding to this, the societal organs are schools, hospitals, religious set-ups, and family units (Thompson et al., 2016). The society is held together by shared values like language that can form the center for people to galvanize together (Griffiths et al., 2015). Consequently, if people are perceived to be from outside threatening these values, society will defend their ideas and rights (Thompson et al., 2016). People believe that by engaging in protests, they will spur a positive change and hold the society together. Simultaneously, the perpetrators also feel justified that they are punishing crimes and protecting those (Thompson et al., 2016).

Conflict Theory

Conflict theory looks at the society as comprising of different opposing sides, which scramble for limited resources (Thompson et al., 2016). One group tends to dominate over another and control the more significant percentage of the available properties (Thompson et al., 2016). Sociologists Ludwig proposes that it is through conflicts and wars that people can expose the happenings in society and spur civilization (Griffiths et al., 2015). In recent parts, the inequalities emanating from political inequalities and religious profiling have led to conflicts across the globe to where people fight for their rights, hoping that they will protect their territory (Thompson et al., 2016). Furthermore, the theory can be applied in the current affairs to establish grounds on why the protests and police brutality are happening (Williamson et al., 2018). One group always dominates all the cases and feels more entitled than the others who initiate the unrest to protect their rights (Griffiths et al., 2015). Another theory that sociologists have proposed concerning human interactions is the Symbolic Interaction Theory.

Symbolic Interaction Theory

The police brutality against some races of people was profiling of particular classes or societies' races. Symbolic interaction theory emphasizes individuals' interaction in the community and how language and symbols express a view (Griffiths et al., 2015). Further, the theory explains the human interaction with the surrounding and the signs they put to their actions (Griffiths et al., 2015). The protests across the globe and subsequent police brutality result from people feeling that specific individuals are being profiled, extending the outrage (Griffiths et al., 2015). Further, they put a symbol to both ends. First, they feel that the police's action is a result of them considered a lesser being. Secondly, the affected group hopes that by holding daily protests, the police will bow to pressure and change their manners.


Racial Profiling

Racial profiling is one-way police can carry out brutality on individual citizens while associating them with some crimes (Williamson et al., 2018). The action then sparks outrage, and people feel endangered, thus reacting (Griffiths et al., 2015). Additionally, the protests can extend for a period unless there is a consensus. Furthermore, due to racial profiling, people do not trust their governments entirely, leading to agitation (Williamson et al., 2018). C.W Mills has provided an approach to understanding this action and why people would behave in a particular manner to protect themselves against their surroundings (Griffiths et al., 2015).


Politics is another emotive factor in society, which has sparked riots worldwide (Williamson et al., 2018). To some extent, the political difference causes the government or those in power to use police reinforcement to deal with dissenting voices. Thus, many people have become victims of this act (Griffiths et al., 2015). In the recent past, most countries are experiences political unrest where the locals feel fed up with the governance, resulting in protests so that the leadership can bow to pressure and allow a new team to take over (Williamson et al., 2018). However, in defending their positions, the authorities are engaged in brutal acts through the police, and in the process, the citizens feel the wrath of police brutality (Griffiths et al., 2015). In many instances, the preys are very peaceful people, but the police act indiscriminately (Griffiths et al., 2015).


Several people have been victims of police brutality, and this is rampant in countries with flawed democracies. The leaders feel the only way to remain in power is to act in a cover-up and protect themselves through the police (Williamson et al., 2018). Additionally, the people killed by the police have steadily grown from time to time, irrespective of what offense they have committed. It is a growing concern and stringent laws if not put in place to keep the police actions on the check; then worse is yet to happen (Williamson et al., 2018). For instance, in America, people have been profiled because of their color, status, and political persuasions. Furthermore, the killings do spur people into action because they feel threatened, and if they do not act, then the act might continue (Williamson et al., 2018).

The death of George Floyd sparked a lot of criticism towards the police. They accused him of robbery, which was not substantiated (Williamson et al., 2018). Also, the process was ruthless; thus, the outrage spread across the borders. Police brutality is not just in American but across the entire globe. However, when people get to the point that they cannot take it anymore, they apply violence so that the authorities can listen to them (Williamson et al., 2018). Politics and poor leadership lead the unrest experienced worldwide, and the police engage in violent acts to defend the respective states (Williamson et al., 2018). Africa tops the list of cases of police brutality, and the victims end up not getting justice. Furthermore, the authorities circumvent the law to ensure they are not held culpable (Williamson et al., 2018).

As a result of the unjustified killing of black people, the "Black lives matter" movement developed in 2013 (Ross et al., 2020). Furthermore, this group has organized several protests across the United States over the years. Analysis of the police brutality from 2017 to December 2019 gives a clear picture of the steady rise and why the government should be concerned (Ross et al., 2020). In 2017, the police killed 457 whites and 223 blacks (Ross et al., 2020). In 2018, the whites' number was 399, compared to 209 black people (Ross et al., 2020). In 2019 though, the whites who were killed by the police were in a steady decline to 370, but the number of black people killed rose to 235 (Ross et al., 2020).


Societal injustices like police brutality are an issue that spurs people it action since so many individuals are not very comfortable with them. The measures do not just happen, but a trigger and a need automatically force people into action. The protests cannot resolve the problems if there is no change in the approach, which develops when there is a change in thinking. People realize that they must take initiative and hard resolutions to change their situation. Sometimes police brutality can seem inconsequential, but as it gets its roots in society, people feel the need to gang up and work together to defeat such vices in society. Thus the actions and the protests across the world, which generally start just in a small section then gain traction. Consequently, incorporating social media has enhanced these protests since people from different regions can share the happenings and lead the masses into action. Thus sociology is very helpful in explaining events across the world. Furthermore, it can explain how people think and react to different situations.


Griffiths, H., Keims, N., Strayer, E., Sadler, T., Cody-Rydzewski, S., Scaramuzzo, G Vyain, S.,& Bry, J.(2015). Introduction to Sociology. OpenStax 2e

Ross, C. T., Winterhalder, B., & McElreath, R. (2020). Racial disparities in police use of deadly force against unarmed individuals persist after appropriately benchmarking shooting data on violent crime rates. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 1948550620916071.

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