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The 9 types of social exclusion, and how they affect citizenship

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Throughout history, even today, many sectors of the population have experienced some type of social exclusion.

We are going to analyze this concept, defining it, explaining the different types of social exclusion that can occur and investigating the causes that generate it.

  • Related article: "What is social psychology?"

Definition of social exclusion

Social exclusion consists of difficulty or impossibility of a sector of a certain population in accessing or participating in any or all of the activities of said society, due to a lack of resources, capacities or directly of rights, due to a certain condition, which can be of a very varied nature depending on the moment of history and society.

Throughout the history of humanity, social exclusion (without being known by that term, since it is of modern origin), has been a constant in all civilizations, to a greater or lesser extent, and the causes that have motivated it have been very varied: class differences, economic reasons, illnesses, questions of honor, race, religion, skin color, sex, sexual orientation ...

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There are as many causes as one can imagine, because after all it has been used as a measure of control and submission among the who held the power of society and those who did not, and that type of mechanism has been linked to our history since the world is world.

Recent history

Obviously the tendency, at least in western society, which is the one we live in, is to reduce this problem until it is eliminated, and that is why modern nations constantly enact laws that ensure the integration of all the population, equal rights and opportunities, so that ultimately social exclusion disappear.

The modern concept appears in our society after the Second World War, and is slowly gaining strength until in the 1980s it became a priority at the legislative level in the countries of Europe western.

In France, a minimum vital income is created (a measure that has also been taken recently in Spain) with the aim that no citizen is left behind due to lack of economic resources.

In the European Economic Community, the forerunner of the European Union, a resolution called Combat social exclusion is presented, first official appearance of this term. And, in the late 1990s, the UK government created the Unit for Social Exclusion.

Despite the importance that this term has gained in Europe (although not even in all countries), in other societies such as the United States or Asia it has not managed to take root. Its reception has not been very strong in African or Latin American countries either.

And it is that, in all these places, the term poverty is still used to refer to all this problem. Even within the European Union itself, there are sectors that prefer to continue using the concept of poverty and the indicators related to it.

In fact, in 2020 the European Platform against Poverty was created, partly renouncing the term of social exclusion, which had been coined and defended here for decades. Even the British program discussed earlier, was gradually diluted until it disappeared.

  • You may be interested in: "The 16 types of discrimination (and their causes)"

Types of social exclusion

The typology that surrounds the phenomenon of social exclusion is quite broad. It would be included in three main types, which in turn would be subdivided. Let's get to know them in depth.

1. Economic exclusion

Obviously one of the main causes that generate a gap in society is money, or rather, the lack of it. This, in turn, it may be caused by a series of different factors that would be generating this type of social exclusion.

1.1 Scarcity of income

One of the most frequent problems today is job insecurity, and that is, if it is already difficult to find a job, many times the available options imply conditions that do not comply with the legislation, forcing to work hours that do not appear in the contract (if it exists, since in many Sometimes it is not even done at a legal level and therefore there are no quotes and coverage social.

Of course, in most of these cases wages are unworthy, so, Despite dedicating an enormous amount of hours to work, the remuneration barely covers basic needs of the person's life.

1.2 Unstable employment

Another factor that can trigger social exclusion is job instability. Just as difficult as finding a job can be to keep it over time. And it is that, due to the harsh circumstances of the current market, the most common is to offer temporary contracts that are chained but that hardly end up becoming an indefinite contract.

Also, many times these contracts are not even intended to cover a full day (at least on paper), so it would join the previous factor and they would not even be generating a salary enough.

1.3 Lack of employment

Of course, the difficulty of finding a job can be prolonged in time and the person can go months and even years without receiving a salary, often with dependent families, with financial obligations (rent, mortgage ...) and with debts that increase more and more, which sometimes make recovery and reintegration insurmountable.

1.4 Impossibility of having resources

Although the welfare state guarantees a series of coverage for citizens in case of need, such as unemployment benefit, minimum insertion income or minimum vital income, on many occasions they cannot be accessed due to not meeting the conditions, having exhausted the maximum periods of enjoyment or for other reasons.

This lack of support can delve into the bad situation that the citizen is going through and cause it to become chronic, hindering their economic recovery and could lead to social exclusion.

2. Exclusion in the social

Exclusion can also come from purely social factors, from those that make us relate to other people in the environment and the difficulties that can occur for this to happen.

2.1 Lack of support network

Not everyone has the protective factors that family and friend networks entail when it comes to feeling protected in case of need, either on time or as a necessity.

A very common example is that of single mothers, who have problems reconciling their family and work life, especially if they They are far from her place of origin and therefore do not have anyone they know who can take care of the little ones while she works.

In some societies there is also a lack of support from the social services themselves, by having these very limited resources or directly by not existing, so it would be another cause that would facilitate social exclusion.

2.2 Self-exclusion

Due to different circumstances, it may be the person himself who decides to give up his life in society, avoiding any type of relationship with their peers and living in isolation in all areas of their life.

Some psychological pathologies such as social phobia or antisocial personality disorder can explain this type of behavior in some cases.

2.3 Behavioral difficulties

Sometimes the person does not renounce life in society, but has serious difficulties behaving in a socially accepted way, either due to a lack of social skills or disorders that can generate inappropriate behaviors, such as alcoholism and other addictions.

It can also occur for cultural reasons, in cases where the individual has been raised under beliefs, moral standards and laws that are difficult to fit in or directly incompatible with those of another society, in which it is found now.

3. Political exclusion

Although it is not frequent in our society and in our days, we can find other places where exclusion comes from a lack of political rights.

3.1 Lack of rights

Throughout history, the rights of all citizens have been equated so that their vote in the ballot box is exactly worth the ballot box regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, skin color, etc. In the societies of developed countries, everyone has the same rights and the same obligations.

But this is not the case everywhere. In many countries, today, discrimination continues and therefore excludes certain groups, many times minorities but on other occasions directly to half the population, for reasons of sex, for example. The lack of political rights would therefore be a very powerful path of social exclusion.

3.2 Lack of representativeness

Finally we can find a problem in political representation. It may be the case of finding us a group of people who share a common characteristic, and whose needs are not reflected in political programs of the parties, or at least not of those who govern.

Bibliographic references:

  • Hills, J., Le Grand, J., Piachaud, D. (2002). Understanding social exclusion. Oxford University Press.
  • Leary, M.R. (1990). Responses to social exclusion: Social anxiety, jealousy, loneliness, depression, and low self-esteem. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology. Guilford Press.
  • Hernández, M. (2008). Social exclusion and inequality. University of Murcia. Editum.
  • Laparra, M., Pérez, B. (2008). Social exclusion in Spain. Madrid. Foessa Foundation.
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