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Reviewing the Terms of Inclusion: Transactional processes, currencies and context
Sally Witcher
April 2003
Paper No' CASE 067:
Full Paper (pdf)

JEL Classification: I31

Tags: inclusion; discrimination; mainstreaming

This paper sets out an overarching theoretical framework for explaining and exploring the processes of social exclusion, incorporating themes from the literature. It proposes that inclusion hinges on participation in social relationships enacted through ¿transactional processes¿, where currencies are assessed and goods distributed or withheld accordingly. ¿Currencies¿ are not just financial, but also human ¿ evidence of human or social capital ¿ what people have, do or are. The currencies required depend on the objective of the transaction. However, even where people have currency, transaction may be prevented by inaccessible infrastructure (buildings, transport, communications, etc), or through failure to recognize currency. Both poverty (lack of capital or currencies) and discrimination (failure to enable, recognize, or act consistently upon, the presentation of currencies) need to be tackled. The components that make up social context are explored: the norms and socio-cultural objectives (economic, social, political, etc) and the transactions, currencies and goods which are consequently prioritized. Terms of inclusion may accommodate more, or less, objectives, currencies and goods, notwithstanding that some objectives will be mutually incompatible and that production of certain goods (e.g. land) cannot be increased. Objectives and norms impact on how identity is construed, or misconstrued. A typology of discrimination is described, along with its potential exclusory outcomes. Yet, changes in attitudes and priorities might reveal scope for redrafting the terms of inclusion to promote and preserve greater diversity within the mainstream.