Social determinants of health

Social exclusion

Exclusion consists of dynamic, multi-dimensional processes driven by unequal power relationships interacting across four main dimensions - economic, political, social and cultural - and at different levels including individual, household, group, community, country and global levels. It results in a continuum of inclusion/exclusion characterised by unequal access to resources, capabilities and rights which leads to health inequalities.

The Social Exclusion Knowledge Network (SEKN) examined the relational processes that lead to the exclusion of particular groups of people from engaging fully in community/social life. These processes operate at: the macro-level (access to affordable education, equal employment opportunity legislation, cultural and gender norms), and/or the micro-levels (income, occupational status, social networks - around race, gender, religion).

It examined the linkages between social exclusion and proximal concepts such as social capital, networks and integration. The nature and operation of such processes and their association with population health status and health inequalities were analyzed in a diversity of country contexts, chosen to reflect the impact of differing structural (political, economic and social) constraints.

Key publications

Final report of the Social Exclusion Knowledge Network - Understanding and tackling social exclusion

This final report of the SEKN considers the meanings attached to the term ‘social exclusion’ around the world, presents a conceptual framework for understanding social exclusion in the context of health inequalities and critically reviews knowledge on some existing policies and actions aiming to address social exclusion.

Scoping of SEKN and proposed approach

Social Exclusion Knowledge Network scoping paper: analytical framework, scope of work, organisatin of the Knowledge Network, work plan and key delivarables, integrating with the other streams of work of the Commission on Social Determinants of Health.