• Supporting those affected by the misery of stigma and exclusion

Barriers in social exclusion

When someone is experiencing social exclusion they can face various barriers - known as dimensions - which usually prevents them from being able to independently and successfully overcome their experience of social exclusion. These barriers or dimensions can be environmental which means they are imposed either through the personal circumstances of the person experiencing the exclusion, or they can be imposed by other people. Then there are internal barriers which are not environmental nor are they related to other people, but they exist within the individual perception and feelings of exclusion from the perspective of the person affected. Usually either alone or together these barriers effectively prevent someone from overcoming their social exclusion.

The situation isn't helped by the fact that social exclusion is often perceived as an umbrella term to describe a large number of other different social issues such as poverty and inequality, and the subject has been inflated artificially into a huge topic by people on both sides of the political spectrum who argue back and forth over what social exclusion is, what it isn't, and how best to resiolve the issue. Since the 1990's many media commentators and politicians have felt it trendy to use social exclusion as a means of securing votes yet here in 2018 the actual issue of social exclusion has mushroomed out of all proportion and there are very few if any meaningful solutions or support networks which those who are excluded can reliably turn to for support.

Qultura wishes to emphasize the fact that far from being an umbrella term, social exclusion is a very real social issue which is usually incredibly stressful and often distressing to experience. Unchecked social exclusion kills hundreds of thousands of people every year whether it be through unnecessary and preventable deaths or suicides. It is usually a unique and highly individual personal experience and it is important to keep separate the actual experience not only from the stigma which causes it but also the var5ious barriers and dimensions which help to maintain it.

When we talk of environmental barriers we are referring to barriers which are practical, financial or social. Being labelled and stigmatized by others, or judged, is a major social barrier as can be seen when we think about racism, xenophobia, or consider people with disabilities, who are going through gender reassignment, are gender non-conforming, have issues with obesity, are jobless, mentally ill, homeless, or experiencing directly other social issues. This is what can lead to practical and financial barriers, such as poor housing, low incomes, insecure employment, or where there isn't a healthy work-life balance. Other environemerntal barriers can include having been relocated or resettled to a new area, migrating between countries, claiming asymlum or being a refugee, being bereaved, experiencing a major illness, coping with a new disability or having insufficient income.

Then you have the internal or personal barriers which are largely emotional and psychological. These are generally more diverse and while they can be directly relative to environmental barriers they may also be as a result of past experiences, past relationships, early childhood experiences or how someone was raised or brought up. This is where you find that very few, if any social standards apply. It is also important to bear in mind that we have reached a point where proximal parenting also needs to be taken into account. Many parents try their best to teach their children the life skills and awareness they feel is going to best serve them in their lives. However there are parents who through their own circumstances wwere required to both work, leaving children with childminders, nannies, aur pairs and other childcare arrangements and it cana lso be that there wasn't a successful emotional relationship due to circumstances beyond anyone's control, and some people just weren't taught necessary social or life skills or indeed develop that much awareness.

This is often where the entire argument or premise of self-reliance and so-called personal responsibility falls apart. You can only be responsible for that what you know, are aware of and are able to do. A major internal barrier is one where people stigmatize themselves, by comparing themselves to other people or some arbitrary social standard which doesn't exist in reality. They blame themselves for becoming socially excluded and go through life thinking that this is their fault or what they deserve. There are no social standards, everybody is somebody and we would much rather than people beating themselves up over something which happened in the past and which isn't important they instead reach out and get the support they so obviously need.