Community Development Practice Methods
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The discourse on exclusion describes that there is internal exclusion: which is focused  on the individual and external exclusion is when you focus on a particular nation or group.  

The language identifies the scope of exclusion we are trying to address. 

Exclusion in Relation to Inclusion

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Social exclusion is discussed in relation to the state of social Inclusion. Inclusion depends on the degree that it successfully deals with social exclusion, the extent that it deals with building social capital and building social cohesion. Inclusion is based on notions of belonging, acceptance, recognition and entails the full and equal participation in economic, social, cultural and political institutions. From a practice perspective, inclusion and diversity should be a reflected in an organization's culture, practices and relationships that they create with other organizations, individuals and the broader community. Although diversity may provide the opportunity for a mix of individuals to come together, focusing on inclusion in practice helps diversity to work well. It's about focusing on needs and ensuring opportunities are provided for each person, group or community to achieve it's full potential. 

When trying to ensure inclusive practices a few points to consider could be:

  • collaborative teamwork approaches 
  • shared frameworks
  • family involvement, or invited extended networks into a discussion
  • taking the time to make meaningful plans that are created by the individual, group or community affected
  • ensure a plan is in place to evaluate the effectiveness of the program....feedback, feedback, feedback! 


Is Social Exclusion a Social Concern? 

Critiques have asked if exclusion is a societal problem. Le Grande (2003) describes that voluntary social exclusion can also exist where an individual chooses to seperate themselves from the larger society and discusses that the responses are related to understandings of justice, democracy and concepts of choice.  Le Grande highlights that policy and discourse have asked if it is appropriate to distinguish between the "deserving" and "undeserving" poor who are excluded. How do we negotiate this within North America's emphasis on individual autonomy, agency and responsibility? 

Why Should You Care If Exclusion Exists? 

1) exclusion dilutes social solidarity - exclusion stops people from sharing in experiences that are deemed part of the commonality of 
    human experience. Diluting social solidarity is a cause for concern. It is valuable because it affects democratic politics. Without 
    social solidarity the interests of the majority and the excluded will diverge. This results in governments having the means and 
    possibly the inclination to oppress social minorities. 

2) inequalities are created, for example in education and work. This affects peoples ability to be engaged and achieve an adequate 
    standard of living. 

Where does choice come in? 

As social workers we may be more inclined to turn to discussions which identify the social inequalities and injustices that create exclusionary groups. However discourse describes that individuals may make life choices which result in exclusion from participating in certain aspects of society. For example, a person may choose not to go to University or take a training opportunity and in consequence ends up unemployed. Is this a social problem and how does it apply to exclusion?

Whether exclusion is voluntary or not-voluntary is not the issue! Social solidarity is the main focus. 

Understanding Welfare 

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Although social exclusion may increase the chooser's own welfare it may damage other people's welfare in the process. For a person joining a gang, or a wealthy person locking themselves away in a gated community (creates resentment, deprives others of communal facilities) they may both receive benefits from their decisions yet this affects other's experiences negatively. 

To fully encompass societal exclusion we must ask if social solidarity is being addressed 
                                                                         by ensuring a communal benefit that contributes to everyone's welfare - not just a specific 
                                                                         group.  Although this may be a challenge in an individualistic society such as North 
                                                                         America, it is important for practicing social workers to identify this discourse in their 
                                                                         programming and discussions with community groups. 

Debates Continued

As Jonathan Davies (2010) describes debates on social exclusion include the following
  • discourse around exclusion have addressed if it is appropriate and meaningful to describe a constantly fluctuating group of individuals as a particular group or class 
  • policy debates centre around three main areas. Policy response to exclusion depends on whether it is caused by social breakdown, the moral turpitude of the excluded themselves, or the predictable workings of a market-based class society. Often, where someone falls on the spectrum of personal responsibility or blames the system an individual is a part of. 
  • how wide do we cast the exclusion net in policy? The distinctions that are made (ex: North/South) often describe the socio-economic conditions that create the divides, but are tied to particular political and ideological questions.  
  • To read more on present debates please see Davies, J. (2010). The Social Exclusion Debate. Policy Studies, 26(1) 3-27.
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