Lapidot-Lefler, Noam, Victor J. Friedman, Daniella Arieli, Noha Haj, Israel Sykes, and Nasreen Kais. “Social Space and Field as Constructs for Evaluating Social Inclusion.” New Directions for Evaluation 146 (2015): 33-43.
This paper addresses the role of evaluation in promoting social inclusion, an important component of social justice, with a focus on exclusion resulting from physical disability. We argue that the evaluation of social exclusion and social inclusion requires evaluators not only to reconsider their role and methods, but also to revise the fundamental constructs through which they study how programs and other interventions generate change at the individual, group, community, and societal levels. Drawing on field theory, we suggest that social inclusion processes can be understood and assessed in terms of the expansion of individuals’ life space, which consists of social, political, cultural, and resource dimensions. The paper illustrates these constructs with data from a participative action evaluation of a pilot program for providing services to people with disabilities in Israel. Our aim in developing these constructs is to provide not only tools for assessment, but also ways of thinking that may enable socially excluded people to be more active agents of inclusion.