1.3.4 Integration and inclusion

Whether we are talking about the world of sport or society in general, inclusion and integration are words that are often used when we talk about refugees, particularly in a political context.

The difference between inclusion and integration can sometimes be difficult to translate in some languages, and in certain countries and contexts, the two terms are used interchangeably. However, the concepts reflect an important distinction that help us appreciate the situation facing migrant and refugee groups.

Integration assumes there is something different about migrant and refugee groups, and they are accepted into mainstream society on the condition that they adapt and ‘fit in’.

Figure 5: Exclusion verses segregation verses integration verses inclusion

Exclusion verses segregation verses integration verses inclusion

Inclusion is based on the idea that everyone is different and all can contribute positively to society. So, migrant and refugee groups are welcomed into mainstream society because they can add something special and valuable to it.

Figure 5 offers a simple visual summary of the difference between integration and inclusion, adding two other importance concepts: exclusion and segregation.

When we integrate people we usually group people together and offer them a place within the organisation, but without creating the change to provide them with full access. Instead, a group within the group is formed and, unlike when you fully include people by changing and evolving the norms, integration does not require an effort to identify and change your norms.

Yet even if integration is not as desirable as inclusion, it is still preferable to both exclusion and segregation. Exclusion means that people outside of the group are not invited at all, and segregation means that those who are not invited into the group instead form a group of their own that remains on the outside.

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