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Positionality, coined by Linda Alcoff, emphasizes how lived experiences and social identities — such as race, class, and gender — shape our worldviews; the process of unpacking one’s position, or social location, within systems of oppression. - Alison Hope & Julian Agyeman. Adapted by Michelle Xie [1]

Understanding positionality

Examples of positionality statements [2]

Davis, S. M. (2018) The aftermath of #BlackGirlsRock vs. #WhiteGirlsRock: considering the disrespectability of a Black women’s counterpublic. 

"Before I present the findings, and in the spirit of self-reflexivity, I acknowledge my standpoint as an educated Black American woman. I am not an avid participant in Black online spaces such as comments sections, but I have observed the interactions of other users, advocated for Black online spaces, and am intrigued by the use of language to mark and protect cultural identities. I acknowledge that my positionality influenced this project to some extent; my member resources proved to be important tools that helped me make meaning of the text."

Humble, Á. M. (2013). Moving from ambivalence to certainty: Older same-sex couples marry in Canada

"One of the epistemological assumptions of the social constructionist/interpretivist paradigm is that there is not one reality but many realities “that can be articulated based on the values, standpoints, and positions of the author” (Daly, 2007 , p. 33). Thus, I offer these findings as only one possible interpretation of these individuals’ experiences based on my standpoint as a middle-aged, heterosexual, married woman (which I revealed either directly or indirectly to everyone I interviewed) who has conducted research on heterosexual weddings in the past (Humble, 2009 ; Humble, Zvonkovic, & Walker, 2008). I believe marriage is a right that all couples should have regardless of their sexual orientation, but my focus on the transition to marriage does not mean I devalue other types of committed relationships, particularly the common-law, cohabiting relationships of many long-term same-sex couples."

If you have any suggested revisions or additional resources to share related to the above content, please email them to kenzie@lehub.ca.

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