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Social Exclusion in Everyday Life

  • Eric D. WesselmannEmail author
  • Michelle R. Grzybowski
  • Diana M. Steakley-Freeman
  • Eros R. DeSouza
  • John B. Nezlek
  • Kipling D. Williams
Chapter

Abstract

Humans have a strong need for stable social relationships and much of their daily thoughts, feelings, and behaviors focus on satisfying this need. Various negative social experiences can communicate real (or perceived) threats to social relationships; many of these experiences are subtle, ambiguous, and sometimes unintentional. When threatened, individuals experience both negative psychological and physical outcomes, including feelings of pain and decreased psychological need satisfaction (i.e., belonging, control, meaningful existence, and self-esteem). In this chapter we consider various experiences that communicate relational devaluation under the general label of social exclusion, broadly defined as the experience of being kept apart from others physically or emotionally. We then group these social experiences in two subcategories: rejection (defined as direct negative attention suggesting one is not wanted) and ostracism (primarily characterized by the experience of being ignored). We ultimately propose that even if one is not being directly ignored, any type of social exclusion may increase feelings of being ignored, and suggest these perceptions may account for why many social exclusion experiences have similar negative psychological outcomes. Finally, we use these arguments as a starting point for suggesting future theory and research development among scholars interested in social exclusion.

Keywords

Social exclusion Rejection Ostracism Discrimination Microaggressions Silence Linguistic ostracism Biased language Ignored 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eric D. Wesselmann
    • 1
    Email author
  • Michelle R. Grzybowski
    • 1
  • Diana M. Steakley-Freeman
    • 1
  • Eros R. DeSouza
    • 1
  • John B. Nezlek
    • 2
    • 3
  • Kipling D. Williams
    • 4
  1. 1.Illinois State UniversityNormalUSA
  2. 2.College of William & MaryWilliamsburgUSA
  3. 3.SWPS University of Social Sciences and HumanitiesPoznanPoland
  4. 4.Purdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA

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