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Positioning Theory

Positioning theory is concerned with the psychological and social processes through which local moral orders are collectively constructed and collaboratively upheld in social interactions. These moral orders regulate social actions. Politicians making declarations such as “Illegals have no right to stay in America” or “The accusations against me are all politically motivated” are positioning themselves and others, and positioning theory is a highly effective and suitable way to better understand such behavior.

At the heart of moral orders regulating behavior are rights, which others owe us, and duties, which we owe others. There are also supererogatory rights, a right that one has but might forgo for the sake of others (e.g., to help the police, a newspaper editor agrees to delay the publication of a ...

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