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Positionality

  • By: Luis Sánchez
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Positionality is the notion that personal values, views, and location in time and space influence how one understands the world. In this context, gender, race, class, and other aspects of identities are indicators of social and spatial positions and are not fixed, given qualities. Positions act on the knowledge a person has about things, both material and abstract. Consequently, knowledge is the product of a specific position that reflects particular places and spaces.

Issues of positionality challenge the notions of value-free research that have dismissed human subjectivity from the processes that generate knowledge and identities. Consequently, it is essential to take into account personal positions before engaging in research, especially qualitative research. Consideration of the positioning of those engaged in the production of knowledge reveal that ...

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