Against Inclusivity: Boundaries, Bad Concepts, and why we should resist Universalization

Durey, Matthew (2019) Against Inclusivity: Boundaries, Bad Concepts, and why we should resist Universalization. In: Boundary Breaking - Faculty of Education and Society First Annual Staff Research Conference, 4th June, 2019, University of Sunderland.

WarningThere is a more recent version of this item available.
Full text not available from this repository.

Search Google Scholar


The idea of inclusivity is everywhere. From myriad sources, and encompassing a range of more or less broadly understood definitions, the concept of inclusivity and its general, implicit ideology that in some sense people are better understood by abstract ideas of ‘sameness’ than particular and material conditions and experiences, and consequently that boundaries, whether definitional, logical, social, or spatial, are things to be ignored, transgressed, or even abolished, is an increasingly pervasive part of social life. In this paper, I question the logic underpinning the concept of ‘inclusivity’, and suggest that it is a ‘bad concept’ of which we ought to be wary. Drawing on Adorno’s negative dialectics (1973), I suggest that inclusivity, far from being a complement to diversity – with which it is frequently paired – can be seen as its opposite; and that the uncritical acceptance of inclusivity as a social desideratum not only lacks coherence, but can be read as a particularly insidious form of universalization, through which significant material and social inequalities can be rendered invisible, marginalized, or ignored. This paper invites a discussion on the importance of recognizing the value of particularity; on when (and where) boundaries may be sensible, valuable, and desirable, and how research and practice should resist the pressures of universalization.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: Social Sciences > Sociology
Divisions: Faculty of Education and Society
Faculty of Education and Society > School of Social Sciences
Depositing User: Matthew Durey
Date Deposited: 19 Jun 2019 13:37
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2020 15:23
ORCID for Matthew Durey: ORCID iD

Available Versions of this Item

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item