Standpoint Theory

Chapter 34
Standpoint Theory (page 441-442)
“A standpoint is a place from which to view the world around us” (441). Standpoint suggests a “specific location in time and space where observation takes place, while referring to values or attitudes” (441). I agree with Harding, Wood and Griffin, in that, “our standpoint affects our worldview” (441). Where we fall on the social latter of hierarchy in any group, greatly affects our perception of the world, others and ourselves. I really like that Harding and Wood utilize this theoretical framework starting from a women’s perspective. The marginalized groups of society are more likely to have an objective view of the world compared to the majority. If you are part of the norm, you are helping to create and perpetuate that norm. If you are on the outskirts of “normal” or in the minority, it is easier to think critically, as you want to find a better way. Being on the outside looking in, gives me motivation to criticize the system. It is much easier to point out flaws, when those flaws are negatively affecting the social group I reside in. The social and gender scripts we learn, make our lives distinct from men, whether we like it or not. I am not saying better or worse, just distinct and separate at times. But is there such a thing as separate but equal? That is a loaded question!

2 comments:

  1. I agree with you in that "the marginalized groups of society are more likely to have an objective view of the world compared to the majority." When you are someone who is part of the mainstream norm, you go with that and sometimes do not realize what other options there are of doing things.

    We do learn social and gender scripts. We are socialized to behave in a manner consistent with our gender. And this is what differntiates us from the other gender - the socialization we recieve. If we step out of the norm and behave in a way which is not normal for our gender, we are often criticized through my experience. However, sometimes we excel, like with the example of Hilary Clinton.

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  2. In my public speaking book, Public Speaking: The Evolving Art, recently published by Wadsworth, I discussed standpoints in the audience analysis chapter. Few public speaking texts include the notion of standpoints, but I think students easily grasp the idea and it resonates with them. Considering standpoints moves audience analysis beyond simply categorizing individuals based on demographics. Standpoints recognize the different ways in which audience members view the world. In the case of a classroom audience, all the members may share the experience of being a college student. But they likely have different standpoints arising from their differing positions in society. For example, first-generation college students likely view higher education differently than do second-, third-, and fourth-generation college students.

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