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Social Location

Social location is the social position an individual holds within their society, and is based

upon social characteristics deemed to be important by any given society. Some of the social

characteristics deemed to be important by U.S. society include social class position, gender,

sexual orientation, ethnicity, race, and religion. (L.) Social location is extremely influential on

social interactions, self-perception, and who we are as people.

Some characteristics of social location people are inherently born with; other

characteristics are assigned to people depending on the position they are born into. For example,

gender and race are characteristics that people are born with, no matter their location. Social

class, religion, and ethnicity are assigned based on their location and the position they are born

into. Although inherited characteristics do have different social aspects that influence the person,

these are dependent on their location. A woman for example, may have specific limitations,

freedoms, prestiges, and levels respect depending on their location.

Social location has had an enormous impact on my life, as with any other person. Social

class alone is a perfect example that I can elaborate on within my life. I grew up in a poor single

parent household. I developed specific norms, language, and views of the world based on this

one aspect of my life alone. When I got married four years ago, I did not expect this or anticipate

this, but I was transferred, if you will, to a different social class entirely. My norms, language,

and views of the world no longer were appropriate in this new social class. It was incredibly

difficult to adopt these new characteristics tied to my social class, and change so dramatically.

My perception of myself and my future changed about as quickly as my social class did. I had

new expectations placed on me and I adopted these expectations. I was a high school dropout

and now I am a successful college student, social location is the best explanation I have for this.
Gender is another characteristic of social location that has had influence on my life and

my decisions, particularly my career choices. I have found a deep passion for helping others.

This led me to work in child care for a number of years, and now I am seeking higher education

for the helping profession of social work. These are female dominated career fields. Had I been a

male, my career choices may be far different.

Social location is like a pamphlet we are all given at birth. In this pamphlet social class is

assigned and acceptable behaviors are outlined. Limitations and expectations of our social

location are stated. Views of the world, values, and self-perceptions are outlined in a little graph,

showing which you will develop, and which you will ignore. It defines us, as human beings and

guides on our place in this big world.

L., Jean. Social Location. 22 January 2012. Website.