Plain language

The whole ‘plain language’ challenge is really starting to grow on me. While I have certainly moved away from reading social work or public policy literature, I do want to have a project that matters in some way. While I have lots of ‘back of my mind’ ideas as to what I would like to do with my data that look a lot more like my original inspiration for this research project, and that my reading in the past could of days has been focused more on boundaries and class-like-concepts, the anchoring points I am going to stick with for the time being are:

  1. bonding, bridging and linking social capital
  2. social inclusion and social exclusion
  3. the [in]significance of place

These anchoring points have not been chosen because I see a more utopian society coming from such policies or that I have any great love for the work that uses these buzz terms, but I think these concepts are significant for how governments and non-government organisations are trying to work with social issues. The task I have been putting off for the past nine days is to turn these three dot points into three plain language sentences.

  1. bonding, bridging and linking social capital= Being able to share in resources through a sense of belonging to a group, people from different groups knowing each other and feeling they have something in common, and being able to access political and economic resources though connections between people with different degrees of authority. (I really need to unpack the ideas in italics.)
  2. social inclusion and social exclusion= The way society is organised allowing people who are different in some way to be part of society or causing them to miss out in regards to people getting together, jobs, being able to buy things and/or having the same amount of health care and safety.
  3. the significance of place= Whether or not the geographical place you live in matters for all or only some people, especially in what they do with their time and what support they are able to access.

I am not sure if these attempts give any sort of accurate translation. I suppose the fact that it is so difficult to describe what these concepts are actually getting at shows that they not only stand in for concepts but also for agendas.

Perhaps I am better off not trying to unpack each concept individually and instead just use a line such as:

Do people living in the same suburb but from similar or different housing types, education levels and types of occupations get together, feel they have anything to say to each other and/or have similar experiences, expectations and wants for where they live?


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