Define standpoint theory. What is the relationship between a location and a standpoint? Describe your cultural standpoint, if you feel you have achieved one. How does this affect your communication with others with whom you share similarities? How does it affect communication with those who have different cultural standpoints?
It is known that standpoint theory takes a special place among the other communication theories. This theory claims that all the people are situated in so-called social standpoints. It means that they occupy different positions in the social hierarchy ladder. Due to this fact, all the individuals view this or that social situation from absolutely different “vantage points”¯. (Wood, 1994, p.3)
It is also known that each vantage point of the individuals cannot provide full understanding of the social system but only partial one. Those individuals who occupy the lower positions of the hierarchy ladder have a tendency to understand the current social situation more fully than those individuals who take the top positions. Standpoint theory is also called Feminist Standpoint theory because it touches upon different standpoints of men and women. (Smith & Bienvenu, 2007, p.12)
The relationship between the location and the standpoint of the individual is concluded in the following approach: the standpoint of the individual depends on the location of the individual from which he/she can view the world around. The location of the individual is his/her position in hierarchy. Different social groups have different standpoints due to inequalities between them. That is why the location and the standpoints are interdependent. (Harding, 2004, p.30)
My cultural standpoint is based on the ideals, values and traditions. I think that in our society, there are a great number of different cultural groups the representatives of which have different cultural standpoints. I should say that it is very important not only to understand the other cultural group but also to respect it, its traditions, its ideals and values. As I am an African American woman, I know a lot about the history of my cultural group and my relation to other cultural groups is positive. It is very important for me to have relations with other cultural groups because I am against racism and discrimination. I know that our society cannot exist without culture. The life of any individual is influenced by culture which include music, art, beliefs, traditions, literature, food, religion, behavioral patterns and different products of human activity. I’m a person who values culture and who tries to follow all the ethical and moral norms. That is why my cultural standpoint has already been shaped.
My cultural standpoint affects my communication with those individuals who have the same cultural standpoints only in a positive way. We can share the same ideas and the same topics for communication which are interested for both of us. I can easily understand the troubles of those individuals with whom I share similarities. I know that these individuals occupy the same positions of the social hierarchy ladder. That is why their problems are familiar to me. I cannot say that I do not support those individuals who occupy the top positions of the social hierarchy ladder. I also respect their standpoints and their culture. However, it is easier for me to find common language with those individuals who share similarities with me. I am a citizen of my country and I proud that I am American. My cultural standpoint is based on the major principles of our democratic society. That is why I cannot say that I divide people into particular groups. I have wonderful relations with representatives of other cultural groups or ethnic groups.
Of course, my cultural standpoint affects communication with those who have different cultural standpoints. I should say that it is very difficult for me to communicate with those individuals who occupy lower position of the social hierarchy ladder. I cannot understand their values and their moral principles. However, I always try to have a talk with them. I try to choose those topics for conversation which are interested for both me and for them. I know that the reason of our misunderstanding lies in lack of education and in absence of cultural norms. I feel sorry for their low cultural level. I am sure that cultural standpoints play an important role in the process of communication especially when we communicate with those individuals who have different cultural standpoints. According to standpoint theory, different social groups have different standpoints.(Wood, 1994, p.7) That is why we should take this fact into consideration when we communicate with those who have different cultural standpoints.