The American sociologist C. Wright Mills coined the term "Sociological Imagination" in the year 1959. Charles Mills defined Sociological imagination as the vivid awareness of the relationship that exists between the wider society and the experience of the person /society. In other words, the social outcomes can be understood based on what we do. This imagination is called sociological imagination. Thus, the ability to see things in a social manner and how these things influence and interact each other is called sociological imagination. Thus, for a person to have sociological imagination, the individual needs to come out of the situation and think from an alternate view point.
Notable figures in the field of Sociology
a) Comte: Auguste Comte has coined the term sociology and is responsible for the wide field of sociology. He is also well known for his emphasis on systematic observation and social order. He is also the founder of the doctrine of positivism. He is arguably the first philosopher of science in modern times.
b) Spencer: Herbert Spencer developed the concept of evolution which has caused revolution in many fields. He applied the concept of evolution to philosophy and psychology thereby studying society using it. He is also responsible for the development of another major sociologic frameworks, the functionalist perspective. He also criticized utilitarian positivism and used his political thoughts to defend natural rights.
c) Durkheim: Emile Durkheim is the main architect of the modern social science. He is responsible to make sociology as a science and thus called as the father of sociology. He also suggested that society could maintain the integrity and coherence in the modern era. His noted works includes The Division of Labour in Societyand The Rules of Sociological Method and he is also responsible to start the first European department of sociology, thus becoming France's first professor of sociology.
d) Marx: Marx is one of the most prominent figures in the modern sociology. He is the founder of the socio-political theory of Marxism. He integrated political philosophy and sociology and it became popular as Marxism. It is ironic that Marx was not very popular when he is alive but his ideas and the ideology of Marxism started to expand and influence many social movements after his death.
e) Weber: He along with Marx is one of the most influential figures in the field of modern sociology. He is known for his thesis on protestant ethic and his ideas of bureaucracy. His thinking was mostly influenced by the German idealism and neo Kantianism.