Abstract In interrogating the dynamics of social inclusion in small island communities and how that influences peoples’ resilience to sociopolitical and environmental changes around them, this chapter examines two imaginaries about island societies, namely, the romanticising of island customs, traditions and ways of life and the homogenous framing of small island communities. We challenge the unnuanced and dichotomous narratives that often dominate discussions about social inclusion by adopting”an intersectional approach. This approach seeks to explore the complex and dynamic power relations within and between communities. We aim to develop a deeper understanding of why there are often unbalanced levels of resilience among particular groups of people or households within a community and how social mechanisms enable inclusion and/or perpetuate the exclusion of different groups. We draw on three case studies to examine resilience differentials across several island geographies: (1) gendered aspects of livelihood dynamism in Timor- Leste, (2) challenges for youth engagement in Tonga, and (3) indigenous and migrant relations in coastal communities in Vanuatu. We further use the impacts of COVID-19 to understand in our case studies the multidimensional nature of social inclusion and how interactions between different groups under stress can materialise in intensified inclusion or exclusion of social groups.