Danny Wildemeersch is an emeritus professor of ‘Social and Cultural Pedagogy’ at the University of Leuven in Belgium (1986 – now). He also was a full professor of ‘Social Pedagogy and Andragogy’ at the University of Nijmegen in the Netherlands (1994-2002). He is connected to the the K.U. Leuven Laboratory for Education and Society. His research focuses on a variety of themes such as intercultural pedagogy, social learning and participation, citizenship education, sustainability education, participation in development co-operation. He has published widely on these issues. He is an editor of RELA (European Journal for Research on the Education and Learning of Adults) and of the advisory boards of ‘Adult Education Quarterly’ and ‘Studies in Continuing Education’.
The paradox of exclusion through inclusion
Inclusion is the new buzz-word in policy initiatives related to economic, social and cultural settings in many countries in the western world. In these contexts, inclusion means that maximum efforts should be done to give civilians, particularly the ones who live in precarious conditions, a proper place in society through initiatives of workfare, (adult-)education, social work, health services etc.. Practitioners are invited to make ‘inclusion’ a central target of their practice. The spread of this new buzzword and its related practices requires some critical observations. It is quite remarkable or even paradoxical that the emphasis on inclusion, particularly by policy makers, occurs in times when diverse forms of exclusion are undeniable. In my presentation I will argue for a nuanced, yet critical and contextualized interpretation of the concept, its policies and its practices.