Depth Study - Social Inclusion and Exclusion

Table of Contents


  • Pluralism is the concept of having multiple cultures or groups within a society.
  • There is typically a strong sense of open dialogue and thorough understanding of the other cultures.
  • Characteristics of a pluralist society include:
    • Recognition of other cultures
    • Harmonious
    • Engagement with diversity
    • Acceptance that traditional religions or belief systems aren’t the only way a society can function

Similarities and Differences between Individuals and Groups

The representation of culture through symbols and artefactsSocial differentiation within and between societies can be based on age/gender/sexuality/religion/disability/socio-economic status
A system of values/ethics (e.g. Sharia for Muslim people, Halachah for Jewish people, Canon Law for Christian people, Dharma for Hindu people)Differences can also be created when meaning and emphasis are placed on certain things over others, or by certain groups.
Levels of organisation and hierarchy (e.g. priests<bishops<archbishops in Christianity)
Language/Preferred method of communication (especially in prayer)
Common beliefs

Socially Valued Resources (SVRs)

  • SVRs are resources that enable full and equal participation in society
    • Expected/enjoyed by most members of society
    • Examples typically include housing, healthcare, education, the justice system, employment, etc.
  • Social exclusion occurs when some groups have limited access to SVRs.
  • Discrimination typically involves denial of an SVR to a group of people.
  • SVRs are described and protected as a key component of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Micro/Meso - Social Exclusion in Australia

Social discrimination, usually based on race, religion, and/or gender.Individual events, e.g. Cronulla Riots, hate crimes towards places of worship.Systemic inequality as a component of Australian society: 76% students of non-European backgrounds have reported racism in a school environment that was not acted upon, 52% of Indigenous Australians reported incidents involving vulgar abuse in the workplace.1

The Nature of Social Inclusion and Exclusion

  • Social inclusion is inherent to an individual’s ability to connect with friends, family, and their wider community.

  • Social inclusion is strongest when people are equitably able to:

    • Find a stable job
    • Earn a livable income
    • Use the services provided by government equitably
    • Access legal and medical advice
    • Have their voices heard on a range of issues
  • By creating opportunities for a diverse group of people to be included in a society, the quality of life for the majority of participants is improved.

  • The ABS General Social Survey for 2010 reported positive attitudes towards people from different cultures, with 80% of people agreeing with the statement that ‘It is a good thing for a society to be made up of people from different cultures’.

  • However, prior to COVID-19, there was already a significant downward trend in the social inclusion of people in Australia. From the 2019 ABS General Social Survey2:

  • Just over two-thirds (67.8%) of Australians had face to face contact with family or friends living outside their household at least once a week.

    One in six Australians experienced some form of discrimination in the previous 12 months (17.4%).

    One in three (31.7%) people with a mental health condition and just over one in five (22.1%) people with disability experienced some form of discrimination.

    People who identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual were more likely to report experiencing discrimination than people who identified as heterosexual (33.5% compared to 16.9%).

    Just over one in ten Australians (11.0%) have been without a permanent place to live at some time in their lives.

    In 2019, nearly one in five households (19.5%) were unable to raise $2,000 within a week for something important.

Citations and Useful Sources

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  1. Does Australia have a racism problem? (2021, October 6). Amnesty International Australia. ↩︎

  2. General social survey: Summary results, australia, 2019 | australian bureau of statistics. (2020, May 11). ↩︎