||"Samuel C. Okechukwu" [ profile ]
Interesting Points to Note
Oct 27th, 2008 - 07:56:37
Here is a message received. I have also attached the document under the "documents" section on the group page.
Please find attached a point by point summary or key points for the discussion.
Samuel C. Okechukwu
Founder / President (Honourary)
21 Oroleye Street Afromedia
Phone: +2348082551347 +23412173912
shout (at) samuelokechukwu.com,
founder (at) talentsworld.org,
smile4sammy (at) yahoo.com
Interesting points to note.
ON SOCIAL INTEGRATION
• Being able to be integrated into society is a critical aspect of citizenship (broadly conceived) that must be available to everyone in a society. In fact, it should be seen among the most fundamental rights available to all, alongside similarly fundamental rights to food, shelter, education, and health care.
• Not all groups in a society are willing to be ‘integrated’, but all groups strive to be ‘included’.
• Social Integration means ‘equal opportunities and rights for all human beings.’ In this respect, becoming more integrated means ‘improving life chances’ for all in the society.
• Any society that desires "a society for all" must first adopt and adapt to a culture , that builds and nurtures the necessary institutions for Social Integration, through fairness, equity, the rule of law, accountability and transparency in governance, and justice ,youth development, engagement, empowerment and intergenerational partnership. More importantly, loyalty to the nation must coexist with that for various groups: ethnic, regional, religious, and linguistic.
ON SOCIAL INCLUSION
• Social Inclusion is a process that encourages the development of talents, skills and capacities necessary for children and youth to participate in the social and economic mainstream of community life (Freiler’s notion of social inclusion (2001: 8-10) )
• Social inclusion is the political response to exclusion. Most analyses of racism and sexism for example, focus on the removal of systemic barriers to effective participation and focus on equality of opportunity. These analyses tend to be essentialist and consequently are unable to develop a comprehensive vision that cuts across all the areas of injustice. Social inclusion is about more than the removal of barriers, it is about the comprehensive vision that includes all.
• Social inclusion is proactive. It is about anti-discrimination. It is not about the passive protection of rights it is about the active intervention to promote rights and it confers responsibility on the state to adopt policies that will ensure the inclusion of all members of society (not just formal citizens, or consumers or taxpayers or clients).
• Social inclusion, by virtue of the fact that it is both a process and an outcome can hold governments and institutions accountable for their policies. The yardstick by which to measure good government therefore becomes the extent to which it advances the wellbeing of the most vulnerable and the most marginalized in society.
• Social inclusion is about advocacy and transformation. It is about the political struggle of the political to remove barriers to full and equitable participation in society by all. Further the vision of social inclusion is a positive vision that binds its proponents and adherents to action.
• Social inclusion is embracing. It posits a notion of democratic citizenship as opposed to formal citizenship. Democratic citizens possess rights and entitlements by virtue of their being a part of the polity not by virtue of their formal status (as immigrants, refugees, state of origin or citizens).
• Social inclusion focuses on trying to move the debate beyond the mere focus on poverty and unemployment as the main social indicators. This broadening of focus is done with the understanding that poverty is too limiting and static a concept that fails to capture the dynamic and multi-faceted disadvantages suffered by individuals and groups in society. Moreover, there is recognition that the traditional responses to poverty are not adequately addressing the broader problems associated with long-term deprivation, unemployment, and social disadvantage and can, in some cases, even exacerbate them. Social inclusion has become an important concept in ‘third-way’ politics as a way to avoid the disincentives and traps associated with traditional anti-poverty programs and replace them with opportunities for inclusion and self-reliance.
• Social inclusion is precisely about the democratization of democracy. By developing a new way of approaching old problems, by posing a radically different conception of citizenship and community, by arguing for new measures of accountability, by providing the impetus for the emergences of new modes of evaluations of public policies, by arguing for increased representation and participation by marginalized groups and above all by encouraging the development of skills, talents and capacities of all social inclusion will democratize democracy.
• Social inclusion is about social cohesion plus, it is about citizenship plus, it is about the removal of barriers plus, it is anti-essentialist plus, it is about rights and responsibilities plus, it is about accommodation of differences plus, it is about democracy plus, and it is about a new way of thinking about the problems of injustice, inequalities and exclusion plus..
• The value of social inclusion is that it fully capable of meeting the greatest challenges posed by diversity - to build on the traditions of equality espoused in liberalism and to move to the incorporation of the ideals of anti racism and anti-discrimination as core ideals exemplifying national values. Social inclusion is capable of this because it is about respect for differences and it is about the removal of barriers to effective and equitable participation in all spheres of public life. It is about engaging in inclusive practices, it is about continuous evaluations of institutional, laws, policies, and practices to ensure that they promote social inclusion. It is about evaluation for the purpose of public accountability.
• Social inclusion is identified as one of the social outcomes that SPNO (Social Planning Network of Ontario) sees resulting from the formation and activation of social capital.
The three main sources of social capital (Woolcock, 2001) are:
• Bonding strategies that build trust and cooperation among individuals and within communities.
• Bridging strategies that break down barriers across groups and communities and enable collaborative action on shared objectives.
• Scaling-up strategies that connect communities in collective action for policy and systems level social change and development.
• "At its best, a social capital perspective recognizes that exclusion from [public, private, and civic] institutions is created and maintained by powerful vested interests, but that marginalized groups themselves possess unique social resources that can be used as a basis for overcoming that exclusion, and as a mechanism for helping them forge access to these institutions. Intermediaries such as NGOs have a crucial role to play in such a process, because it takes a long time to earn both the confidence of the marginalized, and the respect of institutional gatekeepers. In short, it takes an articulated effort of both 'top-down' and 'bottom-up' to help overcome this exclusion, but it can be, has been and is being done, with positive and lasting results."
ON SOCIAL EXCLUSION:
• Social exclusion concept is highly compelling because it speaks the language of oppression and enables the marginalized and the victimized to give voice and expression to the way in which they experience globalization, the way in which they experience market forces and the way in which they experience liberal democratic society. The concept of social exclusion resonates with many including those who:
- Are denied access to the valued goods and services in society because of their race, gender, religion, disability etc,
- Lack adequate resources to be effective, contributing members of society; and
- Those who are not recognized as full and equal participants in society.
• The roots of exclusion are deep, historical and indeed are continually reproduced in both old and new ways in contemporary society. Freiler has identified multiple and varied sources of exclusion including:
- Structural/economic (iniquitous economic conditions; low wages, dual and segregated labour markets etc);
- Historical oppression (colonialism);
- The absence of legal/political recognition
- Institutional/civic non acceptance;
- Self-exclusion (Freiler, 2001: 13).
• Walker and Walker comment on the wide scope of social exclusion and define it as “a comprehensive formulation, which refers to the dynamic process of being shut out, fully or partially, from any of the social, economic, political or cultural systems which determine the social integration of a person in a society” (Walker and Walker, 1997: 8).
• Exclusion is very much a lived experience and can be quantified. For Rogers (1995: 45) this dynamic process of being shut out can be diagnosed and measured as patterns of exclusion which affect individuals and groups in six key areas:
- Exclusion from goods and services including material goods and services (education healthcare etc);
- Labour market exclusions (unemployment, underemployment and employment in low paying unstable employment);
- Exclusion from land (homelessness, housing and unsettled land claims);
- Exclusion from security including physical security;
- Exclusion from human rights (discrimination, non-acceptance by mainstream culture); and
- Exclusion from macro-economic development strategy (the adverse effects of the market and restructuring policies. In the developing world this would also include the effects of structural adjustment policies).
- Exclusion results in economic, social, political and cultural disadvantage. Those who are included have access to valued goods and services in society while those who are excluded do not. In turn, those who are disadvantaged, marginalized and “Othered” in society do not have access to valued goods and services and are consequently excluded.
• Community cohesion incorporates and goes beyond the concept of race equality and social inclusion. A cohesive community is one where:
• There is a common vision and a sense of belonging for all communities;
• The diversity of people's different backgrounds and circumstances are appreciated and positively valued;
• Those from different backgrounds have similar life opportunities;
• Strong and positive relationships are being developed between people from different backgrounds in the work place, in schools and within neighbourhoods.
• Social cohesion is clearly not the same as social inclusion. The former does not necessarily ensure the latter, for multiple forms of inclusion can exist in a cohesive society. Nonetheless, the crucial questions that persist are: cohesion around what vision? and inclusion to what? Social inclusion recognizes that identity formation is a complex phenomenon. For example, identity formation and social cohesion of immigrant groups in the urban environment is mediated by their histories in the sending countries, state in the host country and its multicultural practices, and is also mediated by the reality of discrimination and exclusion. In the case of Canada , an official policy of multicultural is an attempt by the state to significantly determine the nature of state /minority relations within a liberal tradition that promotes equality. The state through its multicultural policies encourages group social cohesion (preservation of culture and language).
KEY POINTS ON EXCLUSION AND INCLUSION
• There are and have been benefactors from marginalization and social exclusion.
• The experiences of our people need to be examined and understood before any significant discussion on social inclusion can take place.
• The focus will initially need to be on social exclusion and who and what is doing the excluding before the principles of social inclusion can be explored.
• Choice is necessary; choice in who sets the agenda and the right to choose whether or not inclusion is an objective.
• Social inclusion requires fundamental changes in institutions and individual perspectives.
HOW PEOPLE IN GENERAL PERCEIVE SOCIAL INCLUSION?
• Social exclusion is the current method of solving our social problems.
• There are many layers of inclusion and exclusion.
• Marginalized groups need to determine for themselves how to best meet their needs and goals given the options at their avail.
• Balancing and maintaining relationships is an important element of Social Inclusion.
• Many people benefit from marginalization; Our people’s marginalization is an industry on its own.
• The first step towards Social Inclusion is to understand how people have benefited from exclusion and to understand how the dominant culture has actively excluded people (including through racism).
• The excluded must be ensured the right to decide when they wish to remain excluded and act on their own terms
• Our people need to think about how they perceive inclusion.
• Can Social Integration be used to change the direction of public policy and practice towards our people?
• We need to examine what it is the marginalized group are being included in, what they are excluded from, and on whose terms the exclusion and/or inclusion is occurring.
• Sensitivity is fundamental; people need to be understood and feel that they are valued. One participant shared the story of being invited to a barbeque as a child and then being asked why he did not bring any food. Inclusion needs to be about more than access alone, rather about full citizenship and respecting the individual as a whole person.
• For many people, mainstream society denies them their Traditional identity as children.. As adults they are expected to fit into mainstream society, while they feel caught between two different worlds
Proposed Actions for combating ‘exclusion’ in Aboriginal Canada
• A paradigm shift is required (provincially and federally).
• Exclusion and inclusion need to be understood in the broadest sense.
• Change needs to start with the Indian Act; we need to acknowledge and understand that First Nations people are a sovereign people with inherent rights to land and resources.
• We must understand culture; to do so requires education, particularly targeted towards mainstream institutional thinking and bureaucratic lock-in. The culture of poverty cannot be confused with Aboriginal cultures.
• Marginalized groups need full participation in decision-making. Women being involved in the decision-making process. This involves determining who sets the agenda.
• The primary focus should be exploring the sources of exclusion. We need to closely examine which mechanisms and policies are exclusionary.
• We need to recognize that there is a historical relationship between Aboriginal People and non-Aboriginal People, but the relationship has been highly exploitive of Aboriginal people. Social Inclusion requires a fundamental change in the dynamics of this relationship.
• Institutions and individuals need to recognize the history of Aboriginal People in terms of racism, discrimination and misconceptions; the magnitude of exclusion needs to be acknowledged. Inclusion requires total change in both institutions and individuals.
• Insist upon coordination (between various departments and sectors). A multi-sectional approach including different departments is necessary for an urban Aboriginal strategy to be undertaken.
• Setting up a truth commission to overcome a legacy of racism and discrimination.
• Commissioning papers from the Aboriginal community reflecting their perspectives of Social Inclusion.
SOURCES AND REFERRENCES
• Coté, Sylvain (2001). The Contribution of Human and Social Capital. isuma. Canadian Journal of Policy Research/Revue canadienne de recherche sur les politiques. Ottawa : Government of Canada 's Policy Research Secretariat. Vol. 2, No. 1 (Spring, 2001).
• Wharf, Brian (1992). Reforming Income Security in Ontario . In his Communities and Social Policy in Canada . Toronto : McClelland & Stewart.
• Woolcock, Michael (2001). The Place of Social capital in Understanding Social and Economic Outcomes. isuma.Canadian Journal of Policy Research/Revue canadienne de recherche sur les politiques. Ottawa : Government of Canada 's Policy Research Secretariat. Vol. 2, No. 1 (Spring, 2001).
• Abella, Rosalie Silberman, (1987), “Employment Equity-Implications for Industrial Relations", Industrial Relations Centre, Queen's University, 1987.
• Barata, P., (2000), Social Exclusion: A Review of the Literature. Background Paper prepared for Laidlaw Foundation, Toronto .
• Benick, G., and A. Saloojee, “Introduction” in G. Benick and A. Saloojee (1996), Creating Inclusive Post-Secondary Learning Environment, Toronto .
• Bibby, R., Mosaic Madness,
• Castells., M., (1996) the Rise of the Network Society, Oxford : Blackwell.
• Castells, M., (1997), the Power of Identity, Oxford , Blackwell Publishers.
• Ebersold, S., (1998), Exclusion and Disability, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development: Centre for Educational Research and Innovation, on the OECD web site: http//www.oecd.org/els/edu/ceri/conf220299.html.
• Freideres, J., (1999), Unequal Relations: An Introduction to Race, Ethnic, and Aboriginal Dynamics in Canada . Scarborough : Prentice Hall Allynand Bacon Canada .
• Fleras, A., and L.J. Elliott, (1992), Muticulturalism in Canada : The challenge of Diversity, Toronto : Oxford .
• Fraser, N., (1996), “Rethinking the Public Sphere: A contribution to the Critique of Actually Existing Democracies” in C. Calhoun, (ed)., Habermas and the Public Sphere, Cambridge Mass. : MIT Press.
• Freiler, C., (2001), “What Needs to Change?: Social Inclusion as a Focus of Well Being for Children, Families and Communities – A Draft Paper Concept”, Laidlaw Foundation, Toronto .
• Giddens, A., Beyond Left and Right, Cambridge : Polity Press.
• Harvey, D., (1989) The Conditions of Post Modrnism, Oxford , Blackwell.
• Harvey, D., (1996), Justice, Nature and the Geography of Difference, Oxford : Blackwell.
• Held, D., (1995), Democracy and the Global Order: From the Modrn State to Cosmopolitan Governance, Cambridge : Polity.
• Holston , J., (1995), “Spaces of Insurgent Citizenship”, in Planning Theory, (Special Issue), 35-52.
• Ministry of Citizenship, 1989, A Theoretical Context for Employment Equity, Toronto
• Phillips, A., (1999), Which Equalities Matter? Cambridge , Polity Press.
• Sandercock, L., (1998), Towards Cosmopolis, West Sussex , John Wiley & Son.
• Saunders, P., (1981), Social Theory and the Urban Question, London : Hutchinson .
• Toronto Star, 24/2/93 ; 21/3/94 ; 22/3/94 ; 7/6/99 .
• Weinfeld, M., (1981)., “ Canada ”, in R. G. Wirsing (ed)., Protection of Ethnic Minorities, New York : Pergamon Press. 41-78.