The concept of social exclusion has attracted considerable interest and debate over the past 20 years. It is a multifaceted concept, which has been delineated in a variety of ways by different theorists. This article explores the main defining features of social exclusion, and proceeds to investigate the extent to which these are manifested in practice, in relation to the lived experiences of young people from deprived interface areas of Belfast. These young people are at the cutting edge of the divisions that have blighted Northern Irelandsociety. This qualitative study used interviews, firstly to ascertain the views of the young people themselves, and, secondly, to gauge the perceptions of community group leaders, training providers and employers who deal closely with them. Marked differences were found between the young people and the adult groups in relation to the social construction of exclusion and its impact on the young people.
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