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Main content

Social exclusion (segregation and social isolation)

Video transcript

- [Voiceover] Being an integral member of our society carries with it many advantages. You can get access to good social networks, to housing, to educational resources, to all the different resources of a community. And with that comes a great deal of opportunity. But one of the things that can happen is that certain individuals can find themselves being kind of pushed, kind of relegated to the peripheries of society, and when that happens they really lose, or are prevented from participating in society in many ways. They may have reduced rights, access to legal protection and rights, they may have reduced access to resources, and they may have reduced opportunities. But the thing is, so we have the core society in the middle here, but we can also have a variety of different processes that can drag or suck people away into the periphery, into the fringes of society. So one of the important factors here could be, for example, poverty. So let's draw the poverty magnet, and the poverty magnet can literally drag people away from the core parts of society, to the fringes. And as we move away from the center these people are experiencing a greater degree of social exclusion. And this is a process by which we are derailing people from actively participating in society, and sending people, effectively relegating people to the fringes of society. Where they may not have, where they're basically denied access to many resources. Another important magnet that we can draw is the magnet of ill health. Whether that's mental or physical, that's a huge magnet. Again, people who are physically or mentally ill may have a much tougher time engaging and interacting in society and they too may be dragged away from the core part of society into the fringes. Also we should bear in mind that certain groups may face a lot of discrimination. This could be an additional magnet. And these groups can face discrimination based on their race, gender, sexual orientation, and a whole heap of other different elements, such as culture for example, or citizenship, or other preferences, such as politics. Another thing that we can consider is things like education, housing, employment, these are all very, very, very important factors. And with a lack of education, housing, or employment people can again, be very easily relegated to the fringes of society, where they're not really participating, or able to interact, network, and gain the resources that many people in society have. So as we continue to talk about this really important concept of social exclusion one of the things I want you to bear in mind is that we've drawn these separate magnets, but in reality people who experience social exclusion, who are really pushed to the fringes of society, they often have many of these magnets combined. So they're dealing with tremendous forces that are effectively pulling them away into the fringes of society. And when that happens, when people are pulled away into the fringes of society there's certain consequences that can happen. Those individuals may not only develop greater degree of ill health, but they may also undertake criminal activities, because they feel so disenfranchised. So those are two important concepts there, ill health and crime. So as we can see social exclusion can have many different factors at play that we need to consider. There are many different things I want to consider when we talk about social exclusion and one factor I want you to consider is the concept of segregation. And this concept is pretty important, because this is a way of separating out groups of people and giving them access to a separate set of resources within the same society. Sometimes people describe this as being separate but equal, but we know from historic examples, such as apartheid in South Afric or the treatment of African Americans in the US historically that this is rarely true. Oftentimes people who are segregated have substandard, or really poor services. So if we consider our society again, perhaps segregation would look like this. One set of individuals would perhaps occupy only a part of the mainstream and the fringes of society, and they'd be segregated out. And segregation may be maintained by things like laws and public institutions, or there may be much more informal processes, or hidden discrimination. As I mentioned, segregation often affects a lot of different services and situations, such as schools, housing, and historically in the US even where you sat on a bus, or which water fountain you drank from. And segregation has often, often meant racial segregation, separation based on the concept of race. Let's talk about another concept and that's one of social isolation. And that's when a community may actually separate itself out from the mainstream and do so on a voluntary basis. And they may want to isolate themselves out based on their own religious, or cultural, or other factors. But they want to do that to perhaps preserve part of their identity. The Amish for example, may be a group in the US that you would consider undertaking a degree of this voluntary social isolation. And this would be different to social exclusion, because in social exclusion there are a lot of external factors at play that force an individual, or push or pull an individual to the fringes of society. But social isolation by some of these communities is often done on a voluntary basis.