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Exclusion to Inclusive Solutions

The Inclusive Society course intensive was an interesting class, which I enjoyed from the lecturers to the guest presenters. The appreciation of the intensive rolls from the previous semester, which taught about exclusion and inequality in society. I recall that the class, which showed the different ways exclusion happens in society, also included some ideas like structural violence, gender bias, racism, and a host of other concepts. I could recall that Paul Farmer, whose work focused on the destruction of Haiti by the West, made me think about the various ways exclusion happens through structural violence. It was this thought that made me explore these concepts of immigration in the UK.


While my work was basically on how structural violence affects migrants with an intersectionality of international students in the UK, citing how they increase hardships and widen inequality gaps, it also directed me to think that somehow, marginalised communities are somewhat excluded in the making of policies that affect them. My guess was that while it may seem that it can be argued that representation from immigrant groups may have included some “elite” people who somehow identify as these groups (in the UK context, one may argue the PM and the Secretary of State), I would question how these are able to present the cases of the marginalised groups.


Sitting in the Inclusive Society intensive opened me to the various ways these representations occur. One outstanding approach was through community participation. I found that this may include the community identifying those who could possibly be best to represent them. I sat down to question how that is possible in the context of immigration policies. Are the communities well represented? One of the essential readings for the course pointed at the strategy the first nations in Canada used: community participation. I noted that while they were in a legal battle with the extractivist government, they also deliberated on their own within their community meeting. I think this allows more people to have a say, and not only that, it will spur an increasing level of discussion on the issue and make people aware of their cultural heritage and the fights against the extractivist government.


In agreement with my thoughts, Dorathy Kidd further elaborated that even though the goals were constrained, the elders effectively used the process to ‘generate cohesion, pride, and rebuilding’ within their community. Critical messages about ‘dispossession, displacement, encroachment, and industrial extractivism’ were graphically communicated, as was the value of Indigenous intellectual thought and knowledge-making.


Connecting these two, vis, exclusion and inclusion, and reflecting on my previous assignment on the first semester, it further opens up that most policies about immigrants seem not to have this concept that allows the people directly affected to take part in decisions that affect them. Which I think may be why there is some level of animosity or lack of trust when it comes to them engaging with the government. These include not being able to avail themselves of government programmes, which could lead to the government making the decisions for them. But how would they do this? The government may leverage the previous information it has about the group.


Unfortunately, these kinds of things do not affect people positively. They appear as forms of algorithms based on what can be referred to as big data. These things still lead to new problems, such as opposing the decisions made for them by the government. Now my thoughts go to and fro, trying to understand the rationale for the reactions since they gave a response of complacency to government decisions. Not that I am on the side of the government nor on that of the minority group, but I see that the majority of these loopholes are from both sides. Therefore, not coming to the table or not giving room to discuss can give room to the superior person to “harm” the victim. These harms can be seen in segregation in communities and in the labeling and denial of some services due to them.


As I mentioned earlier, using the previous information available to the superior person, which usually may be a wrong representation of the weaker person presently, is both deceptive and harmful. To remediate this, a number of strategies are required, including the abolitionist strategy. I recall Milner, the CEO of Data for Black Lives, arguing that this wrong data can be abolished for the negativity it presents to humans. Then she calls for the abolishment of big data. In her argument, abolishing big data is more like abolishing prisons. The latter was not a call for closing down the prisons, but for enhancing the accountability of the prisons. Bringing it down to big data, it should then be about enhancing accountability of people’s data, which involves taking the data from the few powerful people and giving it to those that really needed it. I agree with her words 100%, and that is why I found that other concepts taught in the Inclusive Society intensive class were interesting as they explored other ways to address this mislabelling or exclusion.


I would like to add that the order of importance for me among these is social license. As one of the guest speakers, Fredrick from the Data for Children Collaborative, puts it, it is about gaining the trust of the people with whom you are engaging. Which I think the government may need to do to get these issues of the exclusion of immigrant groups from their immigration policies resolved. This obviously would require intentionality for transparency and accountability. Other readings also placed emphasis on how marginalised groups can engage, namely, hashtagging, protests, counteractions, etcetera. These involve actively engaging and voicing their opinion, even in not-so-comfortable discussions.


Although I am of the opinion that structural violence through immigration policy involves the government acting in a way that “destroys” the lives of people, knowingly or unknowingly,. However, I think by applying these ideas as listed (community participation and people bringing themselves for discussions), initiatives and policy improvements will be improved with fairness and inclusion. Other services that have been denied can also be opened up for discussion, and through this, we effectively eliminate or minimise the exclusions in society.



  1. Kidd, D (2019). Extra-activism: counter-mapping and data justice, Information, Communication & Society, 22:7, 954-970, DOI: 10.1080/1369118X.2019.1581243
  2. Farmer, P. (2004). An Anthropology of Structural Violence. Current anthropology, 45(3), pp. 305-325. DOI: 10.1086/382250
  3. Bonilla, Y., Rosa, J. (2015). Digital protest, hashtag ethnography, and the racial politics of social media in the United States. American Anthropological Association, Vol. 42, No. 1, pp. 4-17,
  4. Milner, Y. (2020). Data Intersections 2020: abolish Big Data. Available online:

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