In this paper I explore some of the problems that have emerged around the notion of community as constructed by the state in its attempt to deal with the problem of social exclusion. The paper shows how the idea of community, introduced by a neo-liberal government, is based on a notion of the moral integration of 'deserving citizens'. I propose that the Australian welfare state is exacerbating the problem of social exclusion by imposing a notion of community contrary to the lived experience of numerous social groups in Australian society. I illustrate this point with examples taken from my research on the social exclusion of a small group of Pacific Islander immigrants in a regional town of Australia.
- Deserving/undeserving citizens
- Mutual obligations
- Pacific Islanders
- Social exclusion
- The Third Way