The paradox of inclusivity

A community can work in reciprocal and controversial ways, it can liberate or encourage conformity; it can include or keep people out, and it actually does both at the same time. While community includes certain people, it excludes others.

Deleuze and Guatarri, use the term “constellation” to talk about assemblage theory. They explain the process of coding, which is a process of ordering matter around a body. A constellation is made up of imaginative contingent articulations among myriad heterogeneous elements , by including some heavenly bodies but leaving out others. The included bodies being those in close proximity given the particular gathering and angle of view. The example of the constellation thus defines the relationships with the bodies around it. The assemblage theory was later adopted by Manuel DeLanda, who expanded and applied it in social bodies in all scales.

The constellation metaphor and its attributes can easily be adapted in terms of how communities are being assembled and characterised by exclusion as much as inclusion.

Simply put, if everyone is welcomed in a community, then what distinguishes a community from no community?

As Michael Walzer points out : “ Even the idea of distributive justice presupposes a bounded world, a community within which distributions take place, a group of people committed to dividing, exchanging and sharing, first of all among themselves. It is possible to imagine such a group extended to include the entire human race, but no such extension has yet been achieved. For the present, we live in smaller distributive communities. Were the extension ever attempted, it would depend upon decisions made within these smaller communities and by their members-who dis- tribute decision-making power to one another and avoid, if they possibly can, sharing it with anyone else”

Communities according to Lars Gertenbach and Dorothee Richter have a standardising mechanism; they function as discourses of closure towards the outside and of harmonisation within – harmonisation that can, however, have a violent or compulsory nature. This double animosity, which already strikes a balance in Romanticism , is one idiosyncratic component of the modern discourse on community.

To sum up, the imaginary and the paradox of inclusivity are fundamental components in this standardised mechanism of community. Thus, the illusion is not an inherent element, but it is in any case an inevitable phenomenon that arises with certain prerequisites.

What’s more is the realisation of how the community design falls within a bigger narrative, with constitutional problematics, even outside the social media realm.


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Slack, J. and Wise, J., 2014. Culture And Technology., Peter Lung Publishing, New York, pp.130-132
DeLanda, M., 2006, A New Philosophy of Society: assemblage theory and social complexity, London & New York: Continuum
Smiley, M., 1992. Moral Responsibility And The Boundaries Of Community: Power And Accountability From A Pragmatic Point Of View. The University of Chicago Press, p.196.
Gertenbach, L., 2011. The Imaginary and the Absence of Community. Reflections on an elusive category. OnCurating, #7.
Gertenbach, L., Laux, H., Rosa, H. and Strecker, D., 2010. Theorien Der Gemeinschaft Zur Einführung.