Social Exclusion

What is Social Exclusion?

“Social exclusion takes many forms. It can be direct or indirect, and can embrace both groups and individuals. Exclusion also has a geographical dimension embracing rural, urban and suburban areas alike.

In talking about social exclusion we are focusing on the needs of groups and individuals…who do not have access to services and facilities, or to society’s decision making and power structures.”

— John Pateman
Social Exclusion to Community Cohesion
Library and Information Update, March 2006

To be socially excluded can mean living in poverty, being unemployed or under-employed. It can mean being mentally or physically ill, being an immigrant or a refugee, being addicted, alienated or alone in the community.

Being socially excluded can also mean being suspicious of government agencies and social institutions because interacting with such agencies in the past may have been embarrassing, degrading or even harmful. Suspicion, resentment, hostility and anger can be hallmarks of social exclusion.

Socially exclusion can be defined in a multitude of ways, but what’s important is recognising that such a condition exists in our communities.