On the basis of the social exclusion framework put forth by the Social Exclusion Knowledge Network (SEKN), we propose a framework that conceives social exclusion as a mechanism that limits access to rights, resources and capabilities needed for a healthy life. While it is widely accepted that drivers of social exclusion are structural, the consequences are experienced by individuals in their everyday lives. This article proposes an adaptation of the SEKN framework, illustrating additional basic elements that should be considered in the study of exclusionary mechanisms. We argue that studying access to rights, resources and capabilities is one way to capture the relational aspect of exclusion mechanisms. In doing so, we shift the focus away from the individual and direct the analysis towards contextual conditions that cause the emergence of certain individual attributes. We use the example of food insecurity experienced by individuals to illustrate how a specific problem can be the manifestation of different structural exclusion mechanisms that limit access to the rights, resources and capabilities required for a healthy life.