Explain why "social location" might be an important concept in sociology.

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Social location is important because it acknowledges that all people in a society don't think alike or experience reality in the same way. Our perception of reality is shaped by a myriad of factors. These include our race, our gender, our socio-economic status, our geographical location, our ethnicity, and our level of education.

This is important because it counters the tendency of elites, who often have the biggest platforms from which to proclaim truth, to assume that their truth is the "objective" truth. Despite many advantages, people in more privileged positions can be blind to the social experience of those who have encountered discrimination or oppression. In addition, privilege can foster blindness: How could a person who has never been discriminated against understand the many subtle ways discrimination can harm a less privileged individual? If we acknowledge social location, we can be more mindful and intentional about involving as many perspectives as possible as we work on building a better society or understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the one we live in. In recent times, it has become more common to include less privileged groups in decision making about their own lives, rather than having public policy occur in a top-down matter, though that still also occurs.

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In sociology, the concept of social location refers to how groups in a society experience the interactive effects of intersecting social hierarchies. In other words, it is the sum effect of factors including race, gender, sex, socio-economic class, level of ability, sexuality, age, and geographic location on an individual's experiences, life chances, and worldview. Social location is important in the study of sociology because membership in different social groups often includes a set of societal roles and expectations relative to other groups, and can confer certain levels of privilege and power in society. Understanding the concept of social location lends to an understanding of how individual group membership or identity affects life experiences on a societal and interactive level. Social location explains the systematic, societal effects of a group's location in social hierarchies on those groups.

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