Exploring Society through an Empathetic Lens: An Analysis of Personal Experience through Sociological Theories

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Watch the video Sam Richards: A radical experiment in empathy.
After watching the TED video and reading the section about Sociological Imagination, take the viewpoint of an outside observer to examine your life.
First, pick one personal experience that was meaningful to you.
Second, pick a viewpoint different from your own. It can be another gender, race, nationality, or maybe someone from a different subculture. Finally, write about the three points listed below.
Write a 500 or more word paper discussing each assignment point listed below.
1.  Describe the personal experience as an outsider might describe it. (hint: depending on what you choose and the perspective you choose, this may require a little research)
2.  Describe how that experience was influenced by societal structures (e.g. historical events, religion, or traditions)
3.  Finally review the four main perspectives and theorists related to those perspectives. What theory most applies to the personal experience you described and why do you think this theory applies?
Your paper must include a title sheet and at least 2 outside references.  You may use one reference from the internet but the 2nd reference must be from the Grantham University online library.  Only the body of the paper will count in your word requirement.
To help you begin your first paper, I have given you an example of a personal experience, the structure that helped to shape this event, and the theory that I would apply to it. Although what is listed below is an outline, I would like you to write in paragraph form.
Personal experience: wedding
Viewpoint: a perspective of a person from the subcontinent India
1.  Description: The wedding itself was short, the crowd was small, took place outside of the hometown, and the bride wore white
2.  Social Structure: institution of marriage, marriage laws, and religious traditions
3.  What theory: functionalism
a.  Why this theory: functionalism supports a social structure that is functional for society and marriage is functional for families and households


Introduction: In today’s world, understanding society is crucial to our daily lives. The concept of sociological imagination enables individuals to see how their personal experiences are shaped by social structures. In this paper, I will describe a personal experience from the perspective of an outsider and analyze it through the lens of sociological theories.

Personal Experience: The personal experience I have chosen to discuss is a religious festival called Diwali, which is celebrated by the Indian community. As an outsider, Diwali would be described as a colorful and lively festival. People decorate their homes with lights and perform traditional dances. The festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm and joy by the Indian community.

Social Structures: Diwali is influenced by several social structures, including religion, tradition, and historical events. Religion plays a significant role in Diwali as it is a Hindu festival celebrating the victory of good over evil. Tradition is also a key factor in Diwali celebrations as families gather to perform rituals and share food with one another. Historical events such as the return of Lord Rama from his 14-year exile also influence the way Diwali is celebrated.

Sociological Theories: The theory that best applies to the personal experience of Diwali is structural functionalism. According to this theory, social structures exist because they serve a purpose in society. Diwali is a festival that brings families and communities together to celebrate their cultural heritage and religious beliefs. It reinforces the sense of belonging and identity within the Indian community, and this sense of belonging ultimately strengthens society as a whole. Furthermore, Diwali serves as a release valve for social tensions and provides a sense of catharsis that enables individuals to continue functioning within their social roles.

Conclusion: In conclusion, the personal experience of Diwali is a perfect example of how social structures shape our lives. The festival is not just about lighting candles and fireworks; it is about celebrating the triumph of good over evil, and the sense of community and belonging that comes with it. The analysis of Diwali through the structural functionalism theory highlights the significance of the festival in maintaining social order and harmony within the Indian community.

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