BTW, Speaking about justice…

How do I love thee, social exclusion?

Posted on: December 17, 2010

I’m back!

After long silence and reflection, this come-back post is about measuring life.

In less than a week I have to submit a form to the Quality Enhancement Unit, basically outlining what my research is about, how I plan to do it, and what I would need to carry it out. One of the purposes of this form is to measure the university’s capability to support my research.

This idea of measure doesn’t stop here. As my research is about social exclusion and how to tackle it, there is the issue of measuring exclusion. Unlike the measurement of capability attached to my form submission, measuring social exclusion is tricky. How does one measure exclusion?

If we think about people excluded because they live in some far away land, we might measure exclusion by distance. If exclusion is defined by economic capabilities, we might measure exclusion by wealth (or lack of it). If exclusion is about disconnectedness from the internet, we might measure it using statson number of user, bandwith, or some other sophisticated technological variables. But how do we measure exclusion that is based on social desirability?

One could argue it depends on what is desired, where, who, why… But if measurements depend on an infinite range of variables, why measure anything at all? of perhaps the idea that we should measure anything is over-rated.

Take for example the question ‘how much do you love me?’, or asking myself ‘how loved do i think i am?’. What’s the point of doing that? To understand whether i’m loved or not, if not then perhaps i will have to find ways to be loved… but how does one measure love?

So I started thinking about the many ways we think about measurement. By volume, by length, depth, width… all of this return to the obsession about numbers. About the positive world. We can measure something if we can see, hear, taste, touch, smell… but how do we measure something that is open to interpretation? feelings and perceptions related experiences in life.

Are they immeasurable because they are metaphysical?

If my research is to contribute to the understanding of the concept of social exclusion, in hopes that it will contribute to tackling social exclusion… I would probably start with arguing against measuring exclusion as if it were physically observable. It is a social phenomena that is observable from the outside, which makes it almost impossible to understand what social exclusion truly means from the viewpoint of the excluded.

So like the last line of the poem How do I love thee...

I shall but love thee better after death

how excluded a community is might only be understood once it is dead, once social inclusion happens. Like a reminisce of some eventful past… Oh yeah, community X was excluded unti Y happened…


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The Author

Lishia Erza

Searching for answers about life, these are the ones I have found.

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  • kefirlime: Please do share. Thanks for loving it :P On a more serious note... it is worrying that we have taken for granted (even forgotten) about the essence o
  • ubz: Lishia, love this. allow me to share, seems that a lot of people *maybe for generations* has already forgotten the essence of pancasila, the philosop
  • alvan gunawan: Well said mam.. Couldn't agree more.. Love it..

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