A theory that has been clearly evident within public areas, such as the mall, is the theory of social exclusion.  Social exclusion can be defined as a state of deprivation where certain groups of individuals are lacking the basic necessities (Parodi & Sciulli, 2012; Lewis & Lockhead, 2008; Galabuzi et al., 2010).  Ferrell, Hayward and Young also discuss social exclusion as a majority socially and morally excluding a minority that is a threat to the majority's identity and security (2008, 62). General members of the population may believe that individuals are socially excluded because they are poor.  However, as Parodi & Sciulli (2012) explain, poverty and social exclusion are similar, but not exactly synonymous of each other (12).  Lewis & Lockhead (2008) explain that individuals become socially excluded because of stigmatization, ethnic differences, and low status (10). 

Stigmatization can explicitly play a role in social exclusion (Lewis & Lockhead, 2008, 10).  If an ethnic group is stigmatized as something very negative, members of authority can exclude the stigmatized member.  This can relate to the concept of hyperpluralism because the identity of the individual is being used (Ferrell et al, 2008, 56).  With regards to our topic of the mall, if an ethnic group is characterized as shoplifters, the security has the ability to exclude these members from the mall without cause.  This demonstrates the negative impact that stigmatization can play on an individual.   

Similar to hyperpluralism, social inclusion and exclusion also take into account the identities of individuals and based on the identities, either include or exclude them.   When an individual has a positive identity (such as citizenship, a job and money to spend), they are welcome to certain locations; i.e the mall.  The mall wants all of its consumers to first of all, purchase goods, but also wants the customers to follow the rules and regulations.  Individuals that cannot follow the rules and regulations then become excluded from the mall.  It is very important to distinguish between the identity of an individual and their inclusion or exclusion.  Clearly, homeless people outside of Rideau Centre cannot participate in the normalcy of shopping, because they do not have the capital or image to do so. Even if, say, the homeless girl below managed to accumulate some money to spend within the mall, the stigma she faces will still exclude her from full participation.

A homeless girl sits outside of Rideau Centre as those brave consumers decide to risk walking past her
The infamous overpass (with the second one in the background). Two ways to conveniently access the Bay.
A perfect example of inclusion and exclusion: exhausted consumers get to enjoy the luxury and privilege of a private lunch at Rich Tree, hidden from the gaze of the average shopper who simply does not measure up.


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    April 2013