• Supporting those affected by the misery of stigma and exclusion

Social exclusion defined

Imagine a situation where nobody remembers your birthday. You might be able to recall a situation where you were the last person picked for a team. Or a person singled out to do additional chores or duties, or not being invited to a party or event which you know all your friends have been invited to. You might even recall the feelings and emotions you experienced as a result, the feelings of anger, shame, anxiety or depression. Human beings are social creatures and need a certain amount of social interaction in order to thriven and be healthy. Deprivation of access to opportunities for social interaction when it takes place over a sustained period of time is known as social exclusion and this is one of the fastest growing social issues in our society today.

Social exclusion can be measured in terms of depth and dimension. Depth refers to the amount of time someone has spent without having access to opportunities for social interaction and dimension relates to the numerous barriers which can prevent someone from being able to access opportunities for social interaction. These barriers can be practical, financial, social, emotional or psychological. There is an element of control, as some people can choose to exclude themselves from social contact with others for artistic, spiritual, religious or artistic reasons, but this type of social exclusion is not what we, Qultura, are concerned with. Our focus is on those people who are excluded not through choice but through circumstancers which they cannot control. It's this lack of control which makes social exclusion a stressful, often distressing experience, and which can have various profound and oiften devastating effects on their lives.

While social exclusion is largely a matter of personal perception it is also closely related as a social issue to social stigma and other more environmental social issues such as poverty, inequality and lack of opportunity. But social exclusion can affect anyone irrespective of who they are and what their status is in society, despite the fact that some people are more vulnerable or susceptible to social exclusion than others. As a rough guide, Qultura deems someone to be socially excluded when they have experienced a failed or negative social encounter on at least ten different occasions involving people who have no connection or relationship with each other.