The 3 causes of social exclusion (explained)

Throughout history, many people have been left behind and experienced some form of social exclusion. This phenomenon is defined as the absence of participation and opportunities of groups of individuals within a society.

The causes of social exclusion are very varied, as it is a multidimensional phenomenon. A person can be socially excluded due to economic, professional, cultural and political factors, among others.

Here we will see what are the main causes of social exclusion, in addition to understanding the origins of this concept and the importance it has acquired in Western societies.

    What do we mean by social exclusion?

    We can define social exclusion as the lack of participation and opportunities of individuals in the daily and fundamental dynamics of the society in which they live.

    It is often represented by the rejection of individuals with traits other than socially accepted, deprived of their fundamental rights and having difficulty in developing fully in society.

    Social exclusion it occurs mainly in developing countries, but can also be observed in developed societies. In all cases, it manifests itself in the form of inequalities, marginalization, discrimination, poverty and the vulnerability of certain sectors of the population. What this type of situation usually produces has to do with aspects such as economic status, gender, race, religion, disabilities, gender identity, migratory status …

    Although the conceptualization of the term “social exclusion” is very recent, this does not mean that it has not been experienced for a long time. In fact, social exclusion has been a constant throughout human history and has been present in all civilizations.

    Social exclusion is a collective phenomenon, in the sense that it applies to a group of people who share one or more characteristics frowned upon by the majority of society. It is also multifaceted and multidimensional, and this usually involves the use of social labels, usually pejorative, as a mode of differentiation and stigmatization to determine inequality in relations between individuals or social groups.

    The causes of this phenomenon are very varied and, although we explain them in more detail below, we can say that they have to do mainly with economic, social and political aspects. The long list of causes of social exclusion would be almost endless, as it is a very complex phenomenon which can occur in many ways.

      History of the concept of social exclusion

      In the western world, at least in Europe, governments try to minimize social exclusion. Democratic and developed countries enact laws with the aim of putting an end to social exclusion through the integration of the population and the implementation of measures promoting equal rights and opportunities. In principle, by ensuring that everyone sees their fundamental rights respected and fully integrated in the society in which they reside, social exclusion will disappear.

      The idea of ​​exclusion as we understand it arises after the end of World War II, although it acquired particular importance during the 1980s. thanks to the French politician Jacques Delors. At that time, this term became very important in the countries of Western Europe, in particular among the members of the European Economic Community (EEC), ancestor of the current European Union. This institution presents a resolution entitled “Fight against social exclusion” and this document is the first official publication of the term.

      Although the term is widely understood in Western European law, other societies like the United States or Asian countries have not been as interested in tackling social exclusion. Its reception has not been particularly strong in African countries and, although with some intention to combat it, it cannot be said that Latin America has managed to make too much progress in its eradication.

      Actually in countries where the idea of ​​social exclusion is less well known, it is preferable to use the term poverty to designate this phenomenon.. Although poverty and social exclusion are linked, they are not synonymous terms, as poverty refers more to deprivation of wealth and economic hardship, while social exclusion involves a much more multifaceted, multidimensional problem. and multidimensional.

        The 3 types of causes of social exclusion

        As we said, the causes of social exclusion are multiple, but they can be grouped into three main types: economic, social and political.

        1. Economic causes

        Money is one of the main reasons a person can be socially excluded. Lack of purchasing power is one of the most important factors in generating social gaps. Lack of money, wherever we are, translates into difficulties in leading a full life.

        For many, economic poverty is synonymous with social exclusion, which is why some national laws continue to confuse the two terms. While poverty and social exclusion are closely linked, it must be noted that economic poverty would be nothing more than one of the causes that lead to exclusion, because as we have mentioned, social exclusion is a multidimensional phenomenon.

        In the list of economic causes of social exclusion, we find:

        • Lack of income
        • Unstable employment
        • Atur
        • Salary too small to save
        • Debts
        • Excessive taxes
        • Job insecurity
        • Dependent families

          2. Sociocultural causes

          The social and cultural causes of social exclusion are numerous and most often depend on how society is shaped. Among them we find personal traits, that is, characteristics of people who, because the society in which they are not located does not perceive them as socially acceptable, forces them to remain isolated other individuals. That is to say, they are the cause of discrimination and social exclusion itself, finding:

          • Sexual orientation
          • Sex and gender
          • Race and ethnicity
          • Nationality and cultural identity
          • Mother tongue
          • Religion

          It is important to mention that one of the causes of social exclusion is the lack of a support network, which is very common among migrants. This phenomenon is not having relatives or friends from whom to receive help when needed. For example, migrant single mothers often face this problem because they are too far away from loved ones to receive support and are forced to manage to reconcile family life and work on their own.

          Another cause of social exclusion is the “voluntary” self-exclusion of the individual. Some people deviate from the rest of society on their own, which can be explained in several ways depending on the individual’s personal history. In some cases, this is because he has a mental disorder that makes it difficult for him to interact with other people, such as social phobia or antisocial personality disorder.

          Ultimately, within the causes of social exclusion linked to the social one would have the own behavioral problems of the individual. Some people, although they do not have socially unacceptable traits, find it difficult to integrate into society because they exhibit disruptive behaviors or lack full social skills, without exhibiting a mental disorder. This means that other members of your company are not interested in sharing time with them.

            3. Political causes

            We finally enter into political causes, even if they really merge a little with socio-cultural and economic causes, because politics never departs from what is cultural and economic. We could include a any cause that produces social exclusion and which has to do with ideology, human rights and freedom of expression.

            In Western countries, social exclusion rarely occurs for political reasons, while it often occurs in countries with authoritarian regimes, where a single or a limited set of ideologies are considered permissible. Therefore, it is not uncommon to find that Latin American, Islamic, Asian and European Slavic countries have policies that promote the isolation of those who do not think like those in power.

            The lack of legally recognized rights is also a political cause of social exclusion. This has been a constant throughout history, discriminating against people on both cultural, social and economic aspects. We have an example of a lack of rights for economic reasons in the early liberal revolutions, in which census suffrage was introduced (for example, in the United States) recognizing the right to vote but only those who had a certain income.

            Another example of a lack of rights, this time related to culture, is the situation of many speakers of minority languages ​​who do not have laws that encourage their use or recognize their right to speak to the administration. We can find this example with languages ​​such as Asturian, Aragonese or Occitan, which, not enjoying a full official status, their speakers do not have the political recognition of receiving education in these languages. languages ​​or to address the bureaucracy.

            Bibliographical references

            • Hills, J., Le Grand, J., Piachaud, D. (2002). Understanding social exclusion. Oxford University Press.
            • Leary, MR (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 inequalities. University of Murcia. Editum.
            • Laparra, M., Pérez, B. (2008). Social exclusion in Spain. Madrid. Foessa Foundation.
            • Stewart, F. and Langer, A. (2007) Horizontal inequalities: explaining persistence and change. Working paper no. 39. Oxford: Center for Research on Inequalities, Human Security and Ethnicity, August.
            • Tilly, C. (2007). Poverty and the politics of exclusion. A Narayan, D. and Petesch, P. (Eds.), Out of Poverty: Vol. 1. Cross-cutting perspectives on mobility (pp. 45-76). Washington, DC: World Bank.
            • Mosse, D. (2007). The power and sustainability of poverty: a critical exploration of the links between culture, marginality and chronic poverty. Chronic Poverty Research Center.

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