Social exclusion can be either a lifestyle choice or a social issue caused by a sequence of social interactions which have traumatic or negative outcomes affecting one person and is one of the fastest growing and widespread social issues affecting people in society today.
What is social exclusion?
Let's start with social exclusion as a lifestyle choice. Some people choose to restrict their amount of social interaction and contact with society for artistic, spiritual or emotional reasons. Think of a monk joining a religious order and entering a monastery, a nun who joins a convent, or a writer who chooses to isolate themselves for the purpose of writing and seclusion. This is not the focus of this website.
The focus of this website is on social exclusion as a social issue, which is not chosen by the people it affects but is the outcome of negative or traumatic social experiences by different, unrelated people which forms a social process which can have profound and devastating effects on someone's life, their health, their position in society and their self-esteem.
Internal and external social exclusion.
Social exclusion is centred around perceived experience which is unique and highly individual to the person it affects. As it is caused by social interaction being affected by dysfunctional social and cultural beliefs it has both internal and external aspects both of which create completely different issues.
External social exclusion
External social exclusion is the outcome of social and political failure and incompetent or inefficient management of a social infrastructure and economy. A key aspect of dealing with social exclusion is that, incompetent and inefficient strategies for managing social exclusion can get very resource hungry very quickly, draining public resources and creating consequences which are felt by everyone in society. The effects of social exclusion are felt in some way by everyone in society so it is highly desirable that effective strategies are implemented to maintain social cohesion, order and structure in a way which is beneficial to everyone.
Internal social exclusion
Human beings are social animals and social exclusion can quickly become internalized resulting in numerous issues and causing fear, stress, hardship, suffering, and can lead to such issues as antisocial behaviour, mental illness, addiction, social division, crime, unemployment, premature death and suicide.
Internal social exclusion is largely a matter of perception of one's environment and cultural awareness though it is also caused by environmental factors and social and cultural attitudes.
People who are affected usually feel that they are being denied opportunities unfairly, that they are excluded by other people, that they are not being listened to or they feel misunderstood. They also feel that they are being held back or restricted, treated unfairly, or held responsible for things which have happened in their lives over which they had no control and little or no opportunity to do anything about it.
Internal social exclusion is a stressful and distressing experience which often leaves the affected person unable or ill-equipped to deal with their circumstances and can easily lead to a second process where the person seeks to isolate themselves in order to cope with their situation.
Please read - extremely important
Dealing with social exclusion
There have been numerous academic studies and
research done into social exclusion and it is a vast area
which involves many different aspects of different social
issues. There is very little on effective strategies to
tackle social exclusion.
There is a reason for this.
That reason is human individuality. Social
exclusion as a subject area is vast and incredibly complex
because it affects different individual people in
different ways. Social exclusion is based on individual
human perception - it is something they feel, they
perceive, and something they experience on a daily basis.
The causes of the social exclusion in each
individual case may also be complex and have a vast
multitude of different causes. Social exclusion is not
only based on individual perception, it is also triggered
by a learned emotional response from a traumatic
experience which may have happened at any point in that
person's life - early childhood, childhood, developing
into adulthood or later.
Supporting people affected by social exclusion and tackling social exclusion involves risks. External intervention is generally unhelpful and can often result in pushing someone deeper into social exclusion and exacerbating the issues associated with the social exclusion process. This can result in 'breaking' someone so that they are unable to function in society, have little realistic hope for recovery, or worse, lead to someone committing suicide.
Furthermore providing support for people affected
by social exclusion or attempting to tackle social
exclusion can get very resource hungry very quickly if you
don't know what you are doing. Instead of resolving issues
you could easily end up creating even bigger issues which
require even more resources to resolve.
Tackling social exclusion therefore requires
extensive individual research, it requires sustained and
continuous effort, and it requires effective support
strategies based on meaningful occupation and primary
social interaction - interaction which is pleasant,
reaffirming and positive. This applies equally to those
who are seeking support and those who are providing
To give you some idea it takes a single day to
provide someone who is street homeless with accommodation,
but it can take years for them to fully recover
psychologically and emotionally from the experience.
The only effective way of tackling social exclusion is by finding a way to effectively reverse the process on an individual basis. All such strategies require the provision of opportunities and need to be fully participant centred. .