Social Standpoint

Scholarly Definition

A starting place for social inquiry that articulates a subject position, which contrasts with beginning in objectified social science knowledge. Such a position is informed by the bodily experience, relevancies, and problems of a specific set of people. Starting from within the standpoint of oppressed or exploited people reveals aspects of the social that are invisible from other social locations.

Artistic Statement

Where we stand in the world matters. Are you a shift worker or business owner? Are you a wage earner or salaried person? Are you able to roam the world without travel visa restrictions? Such arrangements shape our daily lives, and standpoint is lived experience and recognition of socially produced differences. In this image, a pair of hands organizes a treatise of the world; defining its contours, deciding what knowledge counts, detailing and omitting certain events. A bust of an aged white man is the focal point. His ideas, and those of men with his similar standpoint, have a continued organizing presence on our ideas, as scholars and students. To the left, faces of women and men of colour. Their mouths are gagged. Scholarly knowledge produced from their standpoints and within their subjective interests have been dwarfed across time, space, and place. Through this rendering, I want the viewer to always consider where knowledge comes from and whose interests are served through the practice of research.

Digital art © Ujwal Mantha