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

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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, UK.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


The idea of inclusivity is everywhere. From myriad 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.

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Depositing User: Matthew Durey


Item ID: 13187

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ORCID for Matthew Durey: ORCID iD

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Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2021 11:57
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2023 12:12


Author: Matthew Durey ORCID iD

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Faculty of Education and Society
Faculty of Education and Society > School of Social Sciences


Social Sciences > Sociology
Social Sciences

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