Standpoint Theory

Standpoint Theory is prefaced on the idea our ability to perceive the existence of social marginalization is limited by the degree of privilege in one’s individual experiences.  Thus, outsiders within (marginalized individuals who are geographically present with the society but socially disenfranchised) may have a better understanding of the overall social situation because they are more directly affected by the whims of the privileged around them.

This leads to the concept of epistemic advantage – that individuals looking in from the margins are better able to understand certain types of knowledge that would be literally beneath the notice of those who are more privileged.  However, this “advantage” is not automatic – instead, it is earned through the intellectual realization of one’s social positionality, i.e. standpoint.

How does standpoint affect classroom dynamics?  In one rather convoluted post, I tried to relate trauma theory and standpoint theory.  The bulk of the post is speculation, but the fundamental questions at the start appear sound.

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