Most theorists maintain that social exclusion is a process, not only the
condition reflecting the outcome of that process. Yet few, if any,
people ever reach the ultimate end of the imagined trajectory. There are
no formal 'exclusion thresholds' to cross, as exist for poverty.
Rather, at any one time, people are situated on a multidimensional
continuum and may be moving towards inclusion in one or another sense,
or towards a state of comprehensive, cumulative social rupture. This
process has been labelled social 'disaffiliation' or
'disqualification', among other terms, and encompasses humiliation as
well as social isolation. Longitudinal and panel studies reviewed here
document some of the mechanisms of individuals' downward spiral, with
the accumulation of dimensions of exclusion. At a more macro-level,
groups, communities, and societies also may undergo a process of social
exclusion from larger collectivises in which progressive isolation and a
decline of solidarity give rise to new social boundaries - exclusion
lines, so to speak - between insiders and outsiders. The process of
residential segregation is a notable example. Despite the EU's
designation of common exclusion indicators, national differences in the
meaning of social exclusion, in contrast to poverty, may impede
comparative study. The concept and its measures are still evolving.
The process of social exclusion: the dynamics of an evolving concept. Working Paper 95. Manchester: IDPM/Chronic Poverty Research Centre (CPRC), UK, ISBN 1-904049-94-X, iii + 22 pp.