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Saravana K
Research Scholar
Department of Studies and Research in Social Work
Tumkur University

Dr. Lokesha M.U

Assistant Professor
Department of Studies and Research in Social Work
Tumkur University


Marginalization is a sign that refers to procedure by which persons are

kept at beyond the limits of society. The term outsiders may be used to refer to
those persons or group who are marginalized. The empirical evidence
becomes very clear that the caste based exclusion in the past and its
continuation in the present continues to be one of the main reasons for their
lower human development and higher deprivation and poverty. This research
paper is an attempt to study the social inclusion of marginalised groups such
as- women, children, scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, differently abled, and
aged in India and it tries to trace out social work responses. The move towards
inclusive social order is considered beneficial for the society as a whole. In
India there are multiple socio-economic disadvantages that members of
particular groups experience which limits their access to social resources.
Some of the prominent factors on the basis of which individuals belonging to
marginalised groups are discriminated in India, i.e., structural factors, age,
disability, mobility and stigma that act as barriers to social inclusion.
Occasionally each group faces manifold barriers due to their various
identities. Social inclusion, as an intervention, is a complex set of interactions
between the person, their goals and their community. Against this background
it is argued in this paper that Social Work as a form of secondary protection,
both theoretically and practically, has to be related to the channel for social
inclusion of marginalized.

Key Words: Social Inclusion, Social Work, Theory, Practice, Marginalized


Marginalization is often described as a social process in which people are

downgraded to the `margins’ of the society. It is defined as processes, in which
individuals / communities are socially kept out, systematically blocked from, or are
denied access to contribute in social and political processes which are fundamental to
jointogether with the society. Marginalization reduces a person, a group, a section or a
community to enjoy rights, privileges, prospects and resources that are usually
accessible to members of a society. It may therefore be considered as a dissonant
relationship between those who marginalize as compared to those who are being
marginalized. Then possibly the term `marginalized’ may be used synonymously with
the term `oppressed’ in comparison to an `oppressor’ as Paolo Freire used in his
famous `Pedagogy of Oppressed’, `proletariat’ as used by Karl Marx, `subaltern’ used
by Gramsci, `powerless’ as elaborated by Michel Foucault, or exploited, vulnerable,
discriminated, disadvantaged, subjugated, socially excluded, alienated or
downtrodden as used elsewhere in the available literature (Nigam, 2014).

Marginalized in India

Marginalization has been, by and large, described as the deliberate action or

tendency of human societies whereby definite sections in our community are removed
or excluded from the prevalent systems of protection and integration, thus limiting
their chance and means for survival. Marginalization lies at the core of all social,
political and economic conflicts wherein vulnerable groups undergo victimization.

In the West, skin color is one of the significant bases of marginalisation of

blacks but in the Indian society, division of population on the bases of birth as per the
preambles of Varna system became core base of marginalisation of significant
segment of population who were placed outside for fold Varna system, who are today
constitutionally known as Scheduled Castes (SCs). Irrespective of their achieved
background, SCs are alleged as marginalised groups. Scheduled Tribes (STs) are
outside the Varna system. Women as a group are perceived as marginalised because
in the patriarchal framework, historically they have rejection and suppression. In

simple words, ‘marginalization’ is a set of processes which ignores or relegates
individuals or groups to the sidelines of political space, social negotiation and
economic bargaining. Homelessness, age, language, employment status, skill, caste,
race, and religion are some criteria historically used to marginalize.

Social exclusion

The concept of ‘social exclusion’ is of recent origin. It has, however, very

quickly acquired widespread currency in developmental literature and political and
public policy discussions. Even as the concept has become widely popular, it remains
a hotly contested notion; too vague a concept to fully comprehend. Not only does it
lack, as critics have pointed out, theoretical underpinnings and analytical clarity,
issues with regard to operationalization and measurements also remain far from
settled. Questions are raised as to if social exclusion is a free-standing, novel, and
distinctive concept or it is just another term saying same as does an array of concepts
such as poverty , inequality., deprivation, vulnerability and so on.

Social Exclusion of Marginalised

Social Exclusion was conceived in Western Europe to capture different forms

of disadvantages that had resulted from economic restructuring in 1970s. It was,
however, first popularized by René Lenoir in France. In 1974, he estimated ‘the
excluded’ about one-tenth of French population, a social category not protected under
social insurance principle at that item, it quickly spread throughout the European
Union as a contagious concept and occupied the centre stage of political and public
policy discourses by 1980. The EU declared reduction of social exclusion as its one
of the main objectives. In the Lisbon Summit held in 2000, the EU reiterated and
reaffirmed combating social exclusion as a major goal of its social and economic
policy (EAPN, 2010)

Social Exclusion in Indian context

In India social exclusion is practiced on the base of caste and untouchability

based exclusion were a group of people being excluded or denial of the rights and
opportunities which the majority enjoys.

Social Exclusion of Dalits

India the society is divided into four varans or the division of group of people
on the base of their birth such as the chaturvarnya or the division of the society into
four classes a hierarchy based the Brahmins should cultivate the knowledge, that the
kshatriya should bear arms, the vaishya should trade and the shudras should serve all
the above three classes (Ambedkar, 1944). The Brahmin flattered the Kshatriya and
both let the Vaishya live-in order to be able to live upon him. But the three agreed to
beat down the Shudras. Due to chaturvarnya the shudrass could not receive
education, they could not think out or know the way to their salvation they were
condemned to be lowly and not knowing the way of escape and not having the means
of escape they became reconciled to eternal servitude, which they accepted as they
inescapable fate (Ibid) . Caste and untouchablity based social exclusion in
contemporary India Even today the Indian society is following the same Varna system
were the society is categorized into four. They are denied basic human rights not
allowed to own property rights and to use public and common property such as the
wells, tanks and temples. After India’s independence when India declared itself as a
democratic nation having adopting a written constitution in which the practice of
social exclusion in the form of untouchability is been eradicated and made it as a
punishable offence under article 17 and 18 of the Indian constitution and have made
several developmental provision for the Dalits. In spite of this the practice of social
exclusion and discrimination has been practiced in one or the other form the practice
still exists in a newer forms and strategies. India is a hierarchical caste society, where
membership in a social group and social status in society are largely determined by
birth (Ghurey, 1969). Caste based exclusion and discrimination has stood over time
and has taken new forms in the new millennium. It has permeated economic, civil,
cultural, and political spheres of modern life as well (Ronald & Laavanya, 2011).

Social Exclusion of Women

World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Gender Gap Report 2017, India has
closed 67% of its gender gap, less than many of its international peers, and some of its
neighbors like Bangladesh ranked 47th while China was placed at 100th. India’s
greatest challenges lie in the economic participation and opportunity pillar where the
country is ranked 139 as well as health and survival pillar where the country is ranked
141 on average, 66% of women’s work in India is unpaid, compared to 12% of men’s
(WEF, 2017). Marriage remains the key institution around which Indian women’s
lives revolve and it has significant cultural and welfare implications. About 60 percent
of Indian girls are married by the time they are 18, and many are married by age 15
(Desai, Dubey, Joshi, Sen, Shariff, & Vanneman, 2010). The supply of safe well-paid
jobs for educated women is low, therefore, educated women, who also belong to the
higher socioeconomic condition, prefer to choose out of the labor force rather than
acknowledge low-status (manual) jobs. In the other part is a rests on the cultural
society and values of position and seclusion in the region, this may put off higher-
status households from allowing women to work or demand employment (Das, 2003).
Ultimately the relation between women’s education and labor force involvement takes
the shape of a “U”, with high labor force participation by uneducated women, the
lowest labor force participation among women who have completed primary
education, and rising participation among women with post-primary education (The
World Bank, 2011)

Social Exclusion of Mentally Ill

Social exclusion are also likely to lead to an increased risk of mental health
difficulties, as a result of stress or managing on a low income, living circumstances,
local environment, discrimination and decreased opportunities for positive self-
esteem. Exclusion of the mentally ill and disabled, a relatively neglected group,
differs from other forms of exclusion are examined. Attention is drawn to the
relationship between social exclusion, disadvantage, deprivation and injustice. It is
pointed out that poverty, disadvantage and deprivation may lead to social exclusion,
but these factors alone do not constitute the dynamics of exclusion. The bilateral
relationship between mental health/ill-health and exclusionary factors is discussed,
taking into account elements such as stigmatisation, ‘othering’ or ‘otherness’. The
injustice aspect of social exclusion is emphasised, and a case is made for redressal of
distributive, procedural and interactional injustice with regard to the mentally ill as
well as other excluded groups. A different approach is required in the case of the
mentally ill and disabled as an excluded group, with greater action-orientation in
policy-making (Krishnan, 2015). The mentally ill are not only ‘shunned’ (Thornicraft,
2006) but also find it very difficult to find employment, which in turn, makes them
poor. There are greater barriers in getting care and treatment for mental illness than
for physical ill-health. Some surveys in India reveal deficiencies in mental health care,
such as insufficient facilities, a shortage of psychiatrists and psychologists, neglect of
women who suffer from mental ill-health, and above all, the absence of the
appropriate attitudes towards mental health. In addition, there is no provision for the
treatment of those who cannot financially afford it. Such persons typically end up in
poverty and deprivation (Krishnan, 2015)

Constitutional Provisions for Social Inclusion

SC and STs

Art. 15(4): Clause 4 of article 15 is the fountain head of all provisions

regarding compensatory discrimination for SCs/STs. This clause started the era of
reservations in India. Art. 15 (5): This clause was added in 93rd amendment in 2005
and allows the state to make special provisions for backward classes or SCs or STs for
admissions in private educational institutions, aided or unaided. Art. 16(4): This
clause allows the state to reserve vacancies in public service for any backward classes
of the state that are not adequately represented in the public services. Art. 16 (4A):
This allows the state to implement reservation in the matter of promotion for SCs and
STs (NCSC, 2016).


Art. 15(3): It allows the state to make special provisions for women and
children. Several acts such as Dowry Prevention Act have been passed including the
most recent one of Protection of women from Domestic Violence Act 2005. Art. 23:
Under the fundamental right against exploitation, flesh trade has been banned. Art.
39: Ensures equal pay to women for equal work. Art. 40: Provides 1/3 reservation in
panchayat. Art. 42: Provides free pregnancy care and delivery (ibid). There are
various commissions, work for human rights protection and inclusion such as
National and State Human Rights Commission, National SC commission, National ST
Commission, State SC/ST commissions, National and State Women’s Commission,
National and State Child Welfare Commissions.

Social Work and Social Inclusion

Social work is a very broad as well as a century old subject. It includes many
approaches such as preventive, promotive and curative approach of social work. It is
such an inter disciplinary practice profession which conglomerate of developmental

psychology, sociology, social economics, social medicines, social policy and
planning, social welfare administration and so on so forth. A lot of research and
development in this particular issue has been made over a long period of time, which
has helped in establishing it as a profession. Gradually it has also been established
that social work promotes the general welfare of the society, from local to global
levels and the development of people, their communities, and their environments.
Social work should advocate better living conditions conducive to the fulfillment of
basic human needs and should promote social, economical, political and cultural
values and institutions that are compatible with the realization of social justice.
Considering the above mentioned points, self help group, microfinance and women
empowerment would be an ideal field of practice for social work professionals
because of the existence of abundant social problem.

Social Inclusion of women and Aged through Social Work

Gender hierarchy is the most pervasive source of inequality in the world. In view of
the commitment of social work to the goal of justice, redressing the consequences of
inequality among the most disenfranchised should be at the core of professional
intervention. Rather than discussing the merits of specific types of practice
intervention adopted by social workers. intimate partner violence, human trafficking,
gender bias/oppression, reproductive justice and equal pay for equal work have all
served as challenges for social workers advocating for and supporting women’s rights.
Today, “women’s issues” are often limited to health and reproductive matters;
however, almost every issue is a women’s issue that requires an intersectional gender
lens. The dramatic growth in the number of adults aged 65 and older, combined with
overall population aging, affects not only families and workplaces, but also health
care and social service delivery systems. Meeting the needs and leveraging the
contributions of an increasingly diverse older population presents both challenges and
opportunities to social workers and other service providers. Find tools, information,
and resources to enhance social workers’ capacity to support both older adults and
family caregivers.

Social Work with Dalits

The problems of Dalits, in particular, have hardly been the concern of professional
social workers. So far, it is only the sociologists and social scientists who have dealt

with the problems of Dalits, though it indeed needs the intervention of professional
social workers more than any other. The focus and concern of professional social
workers and the social work discipline have so far been only in the fields of health,
education, income generation, rehabilitation and resettlement, adoption, family and
child welfare, youth welfare, and recently also in the field of gender sensitization and
environment protection. Working towards the emancipation of Dalits has so far
remained outside the purview of social work profession In India the professional
social workers are also part of the caste system and to a great extent they too are not
free from caste prejudices. Unless they are freed from their caste prejudice, they
cannot intervene meaningfully with full commitment and conviction in dealing with
the problems faced by the Dalits.. There has hardly been any attempt to document the
experiences of social workers or the NGOs having professionally trained social
workers dealing with caste related issues. Social work research should focus on
documenting the experiences of those Dalits attempting to break up all barriers
erected around them in the name of caste through the Constitutional provisions, and
by organising themselves into movements against all forms of injustices inflicted on
them. Considering the fact that the social work intervention is more relevant and
crucial in resolving the problems of Dalits, research needs to be carried out on the
extent to which the social work institutions and social work professionals (both, social
work teachers and practitioners) are free from caste prejudices, and committed to
work for the cause of Dalits. Can the existing methods of social work practice such as
casework, group work, community organisation, social action, social work research
and social work administration be adequate enough to deal with problems of Dalits?
Or do new methods need to be evolved, or should there be some modification in the
existing methods? These moot questions are yet to be answered. Besides, the
experience of a few NGOs which focus mainly on safeguarding the interest of Dalits
should be shared at a wider level particularly in terms of the strategies. and methods
they adopt while dealing with such issues. Research in these areas is of immense
importance now.

Social Inclusion of Mentally ill through Social work

The quality of health and social care is now a high priority for government,
professionals, and the public. This is particularly true of mental health, where explicit
standards lie at the centre of current policy, demanding the development of reliable
means for quality assurance. These need to allow for the multiplicity of stakeholders
in mental health-care, and their different constructions of "quality" (Ring, 2011). To
improve social inclusion for people with mental disabilities: legislation, community-
based supports and services, antistigma/antidiscrimination initiatives, and system
monitoring and evaluation are required. While legislative solutions are the most
prevalent, and provide an important framework to support social inclusion.
Community based supports and services that are person-centered and recovery-
oriented hold considerable promise. Antistigma and antidiscrimination strategies are
gaining in popularity and offer important avenues for eliminating social barriers and
promoting adequate and equitable access to care. Finally, in the circumstance of the
current human rights and evidence-based health paradigms, systematic evidence will
be needed to support efforts to promote social inclusion for people with mental
disabilities, highlight social inequities, and develop best practice approaches social
work (Cobigo & Stuart, 2010).


Social inclusion, as an intervention, is a complex set of interactions between

the person, their goals and their community (Croucher, 2010). This throws up
questions as to what the core skill set is to facilitate social inclusion effectively- who
should be doing it? In generally, it demands a varied set of skills in order to meet the
potential needs of each individual. These skills range from teaching, counseling and
reflective practice. The evidence we have gathered reliably measured the impact of
the work we do to promote social inclusion. As shown in this article, tackling the
problems in regard to marginalization and social inclusion are broad, global and
complex process with involvement of many stakeholders. Issues as human rights,
major socio-economic developments, political climate and other aspects need to be
taken into account. Therefore, integrated, multidisciplinary and holistic approaches,
taking into account available evidence have the highest chance to make a difference
and to have sustainable results in improving social inclusion for marginalised groups.
On the other hand, major policy and economic developments like globalisation might
cause more harm and disadvantages for people living in the margin. Therefore, efforts
at local, national and international levels have to be continuously maintained and
strengthened, in order to close the gap of inequalities, to reduce stigmatisation and
criminalisation and to include all members of a society. Human rights and the respect
of human dignity and self determination should hereby play an essential role.
Professional social worker play a vital role in empowerment of marginalised in both
Government and Nongovernment organisations. With their focus on human rights,
self-determination and holistic analysis, a professional Social Workers offers a
distinctive and valuable contribution in providing suitable and targeted services to
meet the complex needs to the marginalised, their families and communities with the
professional application of Social Work methods such as Social Case Work, Social
Group Work, Welfare Administration, Social Work Research and Social Action.
Accordingly, the profession of social work has a clear role in the continuum of
Marginalized care services.


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