Social Inclusion and Local Practices of Belonging

Rob Garbutt


Social inclusion has been conceptualised as having two key aspects: distributional aspects relating to access to resources including employment, and relational aspects which concern the connections between people and the wider society. While both are important, the emphasis in Australian social inclusion policy has been on distributional aspects. This paper focuses on the relational aspects of social inclusion, and argues that it is critically important to include relational considerations in social inclusion policy.

Central to the relational aspects of social inclusion is achieving a sense of belonging, particularly at the everyday, local level. Belonging in this everyday sense can be thought of as an ongoing project achieved through everyday practices, rather than solely in terms of membership of a group. While many such practices, for example regularly engaging in team sports, are accepted ways of establishing and maintaining belonging, for others in a community practices of belonging may necessitate disrupting or at least broadening the established norms of how one belongs.

To ground this discussion of inclusion and belonging, this paper draws on practices of belonging in a regional community. Established norms of belonging are examined through the idea of ‘being a local’, a way of belonging that appears to be based on membership. The paper then turns to two local projects which disrupt the exclusive bounds of local membership and establish new and inclusive practices of belonging. To conclude, parallels are drawn between the boundaries which define ‘the social’ in social inclusion and ‘the local community’ in being a local, to argue for the importance of including relational aspects of social inclusion within social inclusion policy debates and program formulation.

Full Text:



Abergel, R., Rothemund, A., Titley, G. & Wootsch, P. 2005, Don't judge a book by its cover! The Living Library Organiser's Guide, Council of Europe, Budapest, 2005, p9 (online). Available: (Accessed 20 October 2008).

Ang, I. 2008, 'Passengers on train Australia', Griffith Review, no. 19, pp.230-231.

Anthias, F. 2006, 'Belongings in a globalising and unequal world: Rethinking translocations' in N.Yuval-Davis et al., (eds) The situated politics of belonging, Sage, London, p21.

Australian Broadcasting Commission 2005, The 7:30 Report [video recording] 12 December.

Australian Broadcasting Commission 2007, JTV, Episode 21, broadcast 23 February (online). Available: (Accessed 17 Sep. 2009).

Australian Government n.d. 'Social inclusion priorities' (online). Available: (Accessed 17 Sep. 2009).

Babacan, H. 2008, Speech at the Plenary session '300 Days: Social Inclusion and the Rudd Government', Rights, Reconciliation, Respect, Responsibility: Planning for a socially inclusive future for Australia conference, University of Technology, Sydney, 2 October 2008 (online). Abstract available: (Accessed 6 April 2009).

Ball, E. 2005, 'Towards a Greek Ecocriticism: Place Awareness and Cultural Identity in Pandelis Prevlakisâs Îι δÏοµοι Ïηζ δηµιοÏÏγιαζ', Journal of Modern Greek Studies, vol. 23, no.1.

Baltruweit, S. 2009, pers. comm., 9 August.

Baltruweit, S., McIntyre, S. & Garbutt, R. 2007, 'Lismore's Living Library: Building communities conversation by conversation', New Community Quarterly, vol. 5, no. 4, pp.11-15.

Baxter, R. 2004, 'Six pack not so bad', The Northern Star, 17 March, p.11.

Bhambra, G. 2006, 'Culture, identity and rights: Challenging contemporary discourses of belonging' in N. Yuval-Davis et al., The situated politics of belonging, Sage, London, 2006.

Bickford, S. 1996, The dissonance of democracy: Listening, conflict, and citizenship, Cornell University Press, Ithaca.

Brookes, J. & Appiah, K.A. 2006, 'Cosmopolitanism: How To Be a Citizen of the World', Mother Jones, February 23 (online). Available: (Accessed 23 November 2007).

Brown, J. 2009, 'Repco debate must rally community', The Northern Star, February 9, p.11.

Cameron, A. 2006, 'Geographies of welfare and exclusion: social inclusion and exception', Progress in Human Geography, vol. 30, no. 3, p.398.

Couldry, N. 2000, Inside Culture: re-imagining the method of cultural studies, Sage, London.

Council of Europe, nd, 'The Stop the Violence movement in Denmark. An example for a peer led youth initiative' (Online). Available: (Accessed 11 September 2008).

The Daily Telegraph, 2005, 'Calls for calm as locals plot revenge', The Daily Telegraph, 8 December, p.1.

de Certeau, M. 1984, The Practice of Everyday Life, University of California Press, Amherst.

de Vere, D. 2005, 'Let's unite to fight this shame on the beaches', The Daily Telegraph, 7 December, p.40.

Diprose, R. 2008, ' Where' your people from girl?": Belonging to Race, Gender, and Place Beneath Clouds', Differences: A journal of feminist cultural studies, vol. 19, no. 3."

Edwards, J. 2000, Born and Bred: Idioms of Kinship and New Reproductive Technologies in England, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2000.

Elder, B. 2007, Being Australian: Narratives of National Identity, Allen & Unwin, Sydney.

Evers, C. 2006, 'Locals Only!' in Selvaraj Velayutham & Amanda Wise (eds), Proceedings of the Everyday Multiculturalism Conference, (online). Available: (Accessed 1 April 2009)

Fairclough, N. 2001, Language and Power, 2nd edition, Pearson Education, Harlow.

Garbutt, R. 2005, 'Local Order', M/C Journal, vol. 7, no. 6, (online). Available: (Accessed 5 Sep. 2009).

Garbutt, R. 2006, 'The Locals: A Critical Survey of the Idea in Recent Australian Scholarly Writing', Australian Folklore, no 21, pp.172-192.

Garbutt, R. 2007, ''Locals Only'? Identity and place in Australian settler society', unpublished Ph.D. thesis, Southern Cross University, Lismore.

Garbutt, R. 2008, 'The living library: some theoretical approaches to a strategy for activating human rights and peace' in Rob Garbutt (ed) Activating Human Rights and Peace: Universal Responsibility Conference 2008 - Conference Proceedings, 1 - 4 July, Southern Cross University, Lismore, 2008, pp.270-278 (online). Available: (Accessed 17 Sep. 2009).

Griffiths, T. 1996, Hunters and Collectors: The Antiquarian Imagination in Australia, Cambridge University Press, Melbourne.

Hall, S. 1996, 'On postmodernism and articulation: an interview with Stuart Hall', Hall, S., Morley, D. & Chen, K-H. (eds) Stuart Hall: Critical Dialogues in Cultural Studies, Routledge, London.

Jackson, E. 2006, 'Riot and Revenge', Four Corners, 13 March, Australian Broadcasting Corporation (online). Transcript available: (Accessed 25 August 2007).

Kijas, J. 2002, 'Moving to the Coast: Internal Migration and Place Contestation in Northern New South Wales', PhD thesis, University of Technology, Sydney.

Koler, V. & Davidson, P. 2008, 'Social exclusion as a conceptual and grammatical metaphor: a cross-genre study of British policy making', Discourse and Society, vol. 19, no. 3, pp.307-331.

Labonte, R. 2004, 'Social inclusion/exclusion: dancing the dialectic', Health Promotion International, vol. 19, no. 1, pp.115-121.

Living Libraries Australia at (Accessed 12 Sep. 2009)

The Living Library Organisation at (Accessed 12 Sep. 2009).

Marston, S. 2000, 'The social construction of scale', Progress in Human Geography, vol. 24, no. 2, pp.219-242.

Maxwell, R. 2008, 'Ask not for whom the road tolls...', The Northern Rivers Echo, vol. 14, no.36, 4 September (online). Available: Article & article=23184 & issue=359 (Accessed 12 April 2009).

McCrone, D. & Bechhofer, F. 2008, 'National identity and social inclusion', Ethnic and Racial Studies, vol. 31, no. 7, p.1246.

McIlveen, L., Lawrence, K., & Brooker, G. 2005, 'A line in the sand', The Daily Telegraph, 10 December, p.68.

McIntyre, S. & Garbutt, R. 2007, 'Lismore's Living Library: Evaluation Report', p.3 (online). Available: (Accessed 12 Sep. 2009).

McKenna, Mark, 2007, 'Patriot Act', Australian Literary Review, 6 June. Available:, 20867, 21813244-25132, 00.html (Accessed June 22 2007).

Miller, L. 2003, 'Belonging to CountryâA Philosophical Anthropology', Australian Studies, no. 76, pp.215-23.

Moreton-Robinson, A. & Nicholl, F. 2007, 'We Shall Fight Them on the Beaches: Protesting Cultures of White Possession', Journal of Australian Studies, no. 89, pp.149-160.

Murphy, D. 2005, 'Thugs ruled the streets, and the mob sang Waltzing Matilda', The Sydney Morning Herald, 12 December, p.5.

Greg Myers, 2006, ''Where are you from?' Identifying place', Journal of Sociolinguistics, vol. 10, no. 3.

Northern Rivers Echo, 2009, 'Anzac service a promise for peace', The Northern Rivers Echo, vol.15, no. 7, 19 February (online). Available: & article =25244 & issue=388 (Accessed 12 April 2009).

Northern Star 2004, 'Co-ordinator named', The Northern Star, 18 February, p.3.

Oxford English Dictionary, 1989, 2nd edition, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1989.

Perera, S. 2006, 'Race Terror, Sydney, December 2005', Borderlands e-Journal, vol. 5, no. 1, §49 (online). Available: (Accessed 25 October 2007).

Pred, A. 1990, 'In Other Wor(l)ds: Fragmented and integrated observations on gendered languages, gendered spaces and local transformation', Antipode, vol. 22, no.1.

Probyn, E. 1996, Outside Belongings, Routledge, New York.

Ramage, G. 2005, 'Respect locals or piss off!', The Daily Telegraph, 12 December, p.6.

Redmond, R. 2003, 'The perfect backdrop for local artist', The Northern Star, 11 July, p.5.

Richardson, L. & Mumford, K. 2002, 'Community, neighbourhood, and social infrastructure', in Hills, J., LeGrand, J. & Piachaud, D. (eds), Understanding Social Exclusion, Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp.202-224.

Sandercock, L. 2003, Cosmopolis II: Mongrel cities of the 21st century, Continuum, London, 2003, p.93.

Sicakkan, H. & Lithman, Y. 2005, Changing the basis of citizenship in the modern state: Political theory and the politics of diversity, Edwin Mellen Press, Lewiston.

Silver, H. 2007, Social Exclusion: Comparative Analysis of Europe and Middle East Youth (online), Dubai School of Government, 2007, Available: (Accessed 4 Sep. 2009).

Singh, D. 2007, 'White subjectivity and racial terror: Towards an understanding of racial violence', ACRAWSA e-Journal, vol.3, no.1, p.7 (online). Available 3, Number 1, 2007/DavidSingh.pdf (Accessed 17 September 2009)

Smith, P.M 2006, 'The Application of Critical Discourse Analysis in Environmental Dispute Resolution', Ethics, Place and Environment, vol. 9, no. 1.

Strathern, M. 1996, 'Cutting the Network', The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, vol. 2, no. 3, pp.517-535.

Sword, T, 2009, 'Peace is a many splintered thing', The Northern Rivers Echo, vol.15, no.7, 19 February (online). Available: & article=26061 & issue=399 (Accessed 12 April 2009).

Sylvain, R. 2005, 'Loyalty and treachery in the Kalahari', Meneley, A. & Young, D. (eds), Auto-ethnographies: The anthropology of academic practices, Broadview Press, Peterborough.

TCN9, 2005, National Nine News, TCN9, Sydney, 11 December.

Vinson, T. 2007, Dropping Off the Edge: The distribution of disadvantage in Australia, Jesuit Social Services / Catholic Social Services Australia, Richmond.

Yuval-Davis, N., Kannabiran, K. & Vieten, U. 2006, 'Introduction: Situating contemporary politics of belonging' in N.Yuval-Davis, K. Kannabiran & U. Vieten (eds), The situated politics of belonging, Sage, London.

Zylinska, J. 2005, The ethics of cultural studies, Continuum, London.



Share this article: