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Segregation versus Solidarity: Rethinking the Uncritical Commitment to Inclusion

Promoting Social Inclusion

ISBN: 978-1-78769-524-5, eISBN: 978-1-78769-523-8

Publication date: 4 June 2019


The inclusion movement is predicated on the rights of individuals with disability to full access to communities of choice, ending segregation and separation. However, an uncritical commitment to ‘absolute’ inclusion may undermine the deeper goal of the emancipation of disabled people. In this chapter, we argue that when disabled people come together in groups, those groups are not necessarily evidence of segregation. They may in fact be groups of solidarity. We delineate some of the fundamental differences that determine whether a grouping represents segregation or solidarity, including enforced versus voluntary participation, imposed agenda versus common purpose, shame versus pride and benevolence versus respect. Finally, we suggest that the most important distinction between segregation and solidarity is centred in power; that is, who has the power to determine how people see themselves, what they do together and the issues and the ultimate goal they’re working towards. We end the chapter with suggestions to facilitate communities of solidarity grounded in social justice.



Van der Klift, E. and Kunc, N. (2019), "Segregation versus Solidarity: Rethinking the Uncritical Commitment to Inclusion", Promoting Social Inclusion (International Perspectives on Inclusive Education, Vol. 13), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 17-24.



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