Power & Positionality

I think silence and voice are elusive concepts that are so intertwined they cannot be seen independently. Silence means others can have a voice, and to have one’s voice means another is silenced.

Is it this simple? Who decides?

13 thoughts on “Power & Positionality

  1. @artie

    Power and positionality influence everything that happens within social structures and institutions. From this paradigm, those in power have a voice, and those who are silent do not have one; they are not positioned on top in the system. Having and using power always means that others can be silenced.

    Ahh, I love critical theory!

  2. I was hoping that you would elaborate! It is your thought that we are talking about. You are talking about organizations and the relationship of power to position, I think.

    I take it that you are basing your observations upon factual experiences. If we are going to elaborate upon your theme, maybe we should find some real examples from experience? Can you give a personal experience where position in a system gave power to a voice and power to silence other voices?

  3. Jeffrey,

    What relationship does position have to power? I would like to explore this question further with you. The implication is that where there is no position, there is no power. When I think of “position” I also think of “place”. I don’t understand why place should affect power. How is it possible to even approach this question?


  4. @artie

    What a delicious set of questions, Artie. I wonder that if positions were equal, then power would be equalized and thus (perhaps) not even acknowledged or noticed. I sometimes think that unrecognized power is in-fact useless, though potentially quite the opposite.

    I am not thinking about position as being a physical place, per se, but more relational (online together, within an organization, in a classroom, with financial transactions or the lack thereof, etc.). Let’s see–positionality then is relational, but not physical.

  5. Jeffrey,

    I don’t know if it’s possible to answer this question but I would like to know if it is possible by trying.

    If we are going to deepen the discussion, maybe we should discuss the correct form to use first?


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