Contrast
Font Size

Drivers for Change – Consider Your Social Position

Equity Framework > Drivers for Change > Considering Your Social Position

Social position (or social location) is the idea that each person occupies a specific and individual place in the world produced by our relationships to the social settings in which we live. Social positions are relational, shifting and shaped by relative positions in social structures. All people have a social location that is informed by Indigeneity, gender identity, race, social class, age, ability, religion, migration, sexuality, and geography as well as education, occupation, attitudes, interests, beliefs, and other factors. These locations intersect and are a result of structural, institutional and systemic relations which create social positions of relative privilege and others in positions of disadvantage. Understanding your social position, and how it is perceived by others, helps to inform the boundaries of your experience and the specificity of your understanding of a given issue.

Adapted from:

  1. Morrison, V. (2015). Health inequalities and intersectionality. Montréal, Québec: National Collaborating Centre for Healthy Public Policy. Retrieved from
    https://www.ncchpp.ca/docs/2015_Ineg_Ineq_Intersectionnalite_En.pdf
  2. Peoples’ Experiences of Oppression. Cultural Safety: Module 2. Glossary: Reflection on definitions. Retrieved from
    https://web2.uvcs.uvic.ca/courses/csafety/mod2/glossary.htm
  3. What I Learned in Class Today: Aboriginal Issues in the Classroom. Discussion Topic 1: Social Position. Retrieved from
    https://wilict.sites.olt.ubc.ca/files/2016/05/3a._Module_1_-_Social_Position.pdf

Further Reading / Additional resources

Anti-oppression resource and training alliance (AORTA): Approaches to power inequity within organizations.
https://results4america.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Approaches-to-Power-Inequity-Within-Organizations.pdf

Sample Tools

Mount Sinai Hospital: “Are You an Ally?” campaign –
https://www.mountsinai.on.ca/about_us/human-rights/ally

Social Location and Facilitation from https://www.artequity.org/ . Provides a small group exercise to understand power and privilege as well as providing key terminology and definitions.

Peoples’ Experiences of Oppression. Cultural Safety: Module 2. Flower of Power Activity.

The Flower of Power is intended to facilitate thinking about dominant groups in society and individual’s places of privilege.
https://web2.uvcs.uvic.ca/courses/csafety/mod2/las.htm

What I Learned in Class Today: Aboriginal Issues in the Classroom is a research project that explores difficult discussions of Aboriginal issues that take place in classrooms at the University of British Columbia. This site contains a number of informative discussion topics, interviews with students, learning materials, and discussion questions –
https://wilict.sites.olt.ubc.ca/files/2016/05/3a._Module_1_-_Social_Position.pdf