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Dorothy Smith’s sociological perspective with standpoint theory has origins in Marxist and phenomenological ideas. The basic concept of Smith’s standpoint theory is that a person’s place within society highly influences their perspective and knowledge of society. Following this theory it is logical to say that each person is at least partially biased in their understanding, no one has the same standpoint as another, and a person should not take their standpoint for granted (Appelrouth & Edles, 2010, p. 319). Each individual has a different standpoint in any given situation or social environment, and therefore has an individual perspective on the matter at hand. Like Mead claimed, people are able to redefine the situation in terms of the self as an object in relation to others, but Smith suggests that social locations individually influence those reciprocal reactions and interpretations within the self.
I, like Dorothy Smith, have a “concrete world as a wife and mother” to my two children, and different variations of an abstract world of which I am apart of whenever I venture from my home (Appelrouth & Edles, 2010, p. 321). I have a shared general perspective as a wife and mother, but even so my personal standpoint as a wife to my particular husband, and a mother to my particular children with my personal social location in a neighborhood in central Illinois differs from every single other wife and mother. This is true for a wife and mother in Virginia to a wife and mother down the street from me. I am aware that as a Christian, mother, middle class, white woman and spouse to a military man, that puts me in its own field of taken-for-granted knowledge in conjunction with my individual socialization. Due to being married to a military man I have a taken-for-granted knowledge of the military lifestyle in all that entails from deployments, how to conduct yourself, the pride and honor in serving, and so on. My most taken-for-granted knowledge is my social standpoint as a woman. I innately understand and identify this as my most discerning characteristic in my social world and that most influences my social location and perspective.