Will Learning Social Inclusion Assist Rural Networks?


  • Jill Marchant James Cook University




social inclusion, rural networks, social exclusion, policy, rural social characteristics


Current research on social networks in some rural communities reports continuing demise despite efforts to build resilient communities. Several factors are identified as contributing to social decline including globalisation and rural social characteristics. Particular rural social characteristics, such as strong social bonds among members of rural communities may not extend to those deemed as “outsiders”: thus restricting the information and skills afforded by extended social networks. It is predicted that rural communities may fail unless they are able to renew existing social structures to more socially inclusion arrangements. It is proposed that better social inclusion of individuals will supply novel solutions to innovate rural communities.

Globalisation intensifies the demands on social networks, leading to the rearrangement of social institutions in rural communities. Rapid rearrangement of rural institutions impacts the wellbeing of rural people and threatens rural futures. The viability goals of rural communities are proposed to be linked to social concepts, such as liveability and sustainability. It is anticipated that viability challenges may be partly met through social strategies, such as social inclusion, which expand the social networks of rural communities.

Australian government initiatives such as the National Social Inclusion Principles are intended to curb growing inequity between people and regions. Contemporary social inclusion initiatives focussed on social participation are discussed. Somewhat in contrast to a social participation focus, education is forwarded as reliably associated with a range of positive social outcomes. Literacy education is argued to be the basis of positive outcomes in both self-realisation and social achievement. Suggestions are made for the role of further research involving contributions from adult rural literacy students. It is anticipated that this outlook will allow an examination of social strategies, which benefit individuals and community networks.




How to Cite

Marchant, J. (2013). Will Learning Social Inclusion Assist Rural Networks?. Australian and International Journal of Rural Education, 23(2), 1–19. https://doi.org/10.47381/aijre.v23i2.657