What Defines Your Social Location?

The Practice of Social Research

The social location of individuals is defined by multiple factors, among which it is possible to distinguish social class, gender, and cultural background. There three domains defined the social location of individuals, to a significant extent. At this point, I can refer to my personal experience and I can define my social location based on my class background, cultural background and gender.

My Background

I am a 21 year old female in the military who also goes to school full time. I am a female and identify as a female, I am also in the middle class and come from poverty. I associate my cultural background with the mainstream American culture and I share traditional values which are commonly accepted in the American society. At the same time, my social location may be interpreted in different ways on the ground of different theories which give different interpretation of the social location and the key facts about the individual. At this point, I can view my social location from structural functionalist, conflict theory, and symbolic interactionist perspective.

Structural Functionalism

The structural functionalism views my social location on the ground of my position in the social structure and my contribution to the stability in society. In this regard, my position as a middle class female in the military implies that I contribute to the national safety and perform the function of the defense of the nation through my contribution to the military service. From the structural functionalist perspective, my professional background and my contribution to society are determinant factors that help to identify my social location. My social location is attributed to the role I perform in society and the specific function I perform while doing my job or contributing to society in any other way. At the same time, the structural functionalism defines my social position by my role in society and takes into consideration my contribution to society as the determinant factor of my social role and, therefore, my social location.

Conflict Theory

The conflict theory prioritizes my social background to determine my social location. In this regard, my social class background is crucial for the identification of my social location. At the same time, I am in the transitional position in terms of my social background and, therefore, social location under the conflict theory. The conflict theory holds the premise that social relations represent the ongoing struggle between classes. The dominant class holds control over the entire society through the control over means of production, while other classes are more or less oppressed by the dominant class. As a result, the antagonism between social classes becomes inevitable in terms of the growing tension as the dominant class attempts to maintain the status quo, while the oppressed class attempts to rebel and change the existing social order. As I originate from the low-income class as my family used to live in poverty, I potentially belong to the revolutionary class of those, who have nothing to lose and who can carry out the revolution. On the other hand, my family has transited to the middle class and now I belong to the social class that rather tends to retain the status quo than revolutionize the society, unless I belong to intellectuals, who are dissatisfied with the existing social order and are ready to organize revolutionary changes (Babbie, 2003). However, such individuals are rather exceptional and the conflict theory implies a complex of conditions that precede and ultimately lead to the social revolution. The point is that the conflict theory identifies my social location on the ground my current social class status which I define as the middle-class.

Symbolic Interactionism

The symbolic interactionism defines my social location on the ground of my social interactions and contacts and connections I have with other people. The symbolic interactionism prioritizes the cultural background since I am supposed to use symbols to interpret my position in society. In this regard, I should associate my social location with specific symbols created by the contemporary culture which are the result of the interaction between people and social construct. For example, the level of income is one of the indicators that define my social location within the society. The higher the income is the higher is my social standing (Adams & Sydie 2001). My recognition as a leader or public person is another example of symbols that may define my social location. In addition, symbolic interactionism takes into consideration such attributes of social location as property, like a house, a car, marital status, family relations, and so on.

In such a way, the symbolic interactionism defines my social location on the ground of my self-perception and the perception others have about me with regard to the key symbols which are social location indicators. Social location indicators are symbols which give clear messages about what I actually am (Hughes, et al., 2007). For example, my military service gives the specific message that I am a responsible person and hold an important social position.


Thus, my social location may vary depending on the theoretical framework I am dealing with. The structural functionalism defines my social location on the grounds of m job and contribution to society. The conflict theory prioritizes my social class background as the key indicator of my social location. The symbolic interactionism defines my social location on the ground of symbolic social indicators I and others associate myself with.



Works Cited:


Adams, B. N. and R. A. Sydie. (2001). Sociological Theory. Pine Forge Press.

Babbie, E.R. (2003). The Practice of Social Research, 10th edition. Wadsworth, Thomson Learning Inc.

Hughes, M.et al. (2007). Sociology: The Core, New York: McGraw-Hill.

The terms offer and acceptance. (2016, May 17). Retrieved from

[Accessed: November 26, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016.

[Accessed: November 26, 2021]

freeessays.club (2016) The terms offer and acceptance [Online].
Available at:

[Accessed: November 26, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: November 26, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: November 26, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: November 26, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: November 26, 2021]
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