Include me out: critical readings of social exclusion, social inclusion and lifelong learning
Social exclusion and inclusion have emerged as strong policy-leading concepts at both the national and international level in recent years. Policies on lifelong learning are themselves in part premised on the contribution education and training can make to promoting an inclusive society. It is argued that social exclusion offends against human dignity, denies people their fundamental human rights and leads, in conjunction with social and economic instability, to marginalization and deepening inequalities, which threaten the stability of democracy. Social inclusion therefore appears to be an unconditional good. The argument in this paper suggests that this is not the case. Drawing on critical social policy studies and post-structuralist philosophy, we argue that the notion of inclusion relies on exclusions, some of which may be chosen and even desirable. We suggest that those interested in lifelong learning should take a more critical stance towards the social inclusion agenda to which it is being harnessed.