What does inclusion mean (to you)?

Something I’ve been always quite interested about is the concept of inclusion. It is a term that we often listen and in very different contexts. People often see it as a universal value, which is something I would generally agree with. I say generally because sometimes I feel this term is used in an impropriate or abstract way, leading for example to situations where someone (else) is excluded, some more forceful voices dominate, or just very chaotic and sterile discussions. This is why I struggle a bit with it and why I was so inspired about sociocracy when reading about the principle of equivalence, which in some way goes to the same direction (no one is ignored), but maybe in a more concrete manner.

What are your thoughts/desires about this? What do inclusion and exclusion mean to you? How do you put this in practice in your daily life?

I’ll start saying that for me thinking about inclusion often means to ask whether and how something (e.g. an information, a place, a group, a process) is accessible to people, taking account all the diversities that make us unique. And from there I come with a lot of questions about the (in)balance between autonomy and cooperation. :slight_smile:

My experience with inclusion and exclusion comes from participation in Unitarian societies, college faculties, political action groups, and living in cohousing for 20 years. And it is a constant struggle to ensure that people are included. Part of the struggle is that it is so easy for people to avoid being included. Inclusion carries with it the responsibility for participation and leadership in decision-making or other work. Many people avoid information because ignorance is bliss. I’m a lot happier not knowing what isn’t being done than I am when I know who is not working, etc. But then it comes to a crisis. New people are not educated about consensus and don’t understand inclusion at all. “This is a team decision. We do the work, we decide.” But when they need money, they find that no one has been educated about the project and there are objections. They the team complains about being blindsided. In the cohousing community we have rules about agendas for meetings and minutes being distributed to everyone. All meetings are open. But it is still hard to show up to a meeting when not everyone understands the importance of inclusion. I recently read David Graeber’s The Utopia of Rules in which he explains why people think bureaucratic structures are so popular. The subtitle is “On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy.” Email has to be managed or it is overwhelming but it is still the only way to communicate with everyone in a community on a timely and inclusive basis. The world doesn’t allow us to check one bulletin board every hour for safety news or whatever. Inclusion requires a definition of the community – who is a member of the community? Clear definitions whatever they are are important, but no matter, our desire for less questioning works against us unless we carefully push back.