Social Exclusion Analysis

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The term, ‘Social Exclusion’, being of a recent origin has been attributed by Amartya Sen to the French policy maker Rene` Lenoir who used it in the mid seventies to describe a tenth of the French Population that comprised of “mentally and physically handicapped, suicidal people, aged invalids, abused children, substance abusers, delinquents, social parents, multi-problem households, marginal, asocial persons, and other social misfits”. Silver further broadened the roll by bringing under the ambit of socially excluded those who would be deprived of a livelihood, secure, permanent employment, earning, property, credit, or land, housing, minimal or prevailing consumption levels, education, skills, and cultural capital, welfare state, citizenship…show more content…
According to Sen, social exclusion addresses two central issues- one that of epistemology, that is, how to gain a meaningful understanding of the diverse phenomena of deprivation and poverty and the other being policy implications of that understanding to devise ways and means to improve policy making. Hence, Sen discusses the concept of social exclusion by situating it in the broader context of poverty as capability deprivation. Classically, poverty has been seen in terms of paucity of income that determines the standard of living in significant ways. However for Sen, poverty is not so much the shortage of income as it the exclusion of the poor from participation in and access to opportunities and activities which is a major non tangible facet of poverty that also needs to be accounted…show more content…
The inability to interact freely with others is in itself a grave deprivation as it hinders full participation of an individual in the overall life of the community. Being excluded from social relations can lead to further deprivations thus limiting one’s opportunities. This demonstrates that social exclusion can be constitutive part of capability deprivation (Constitutive Importance) as well as be instrumental in causing multiple capability failures (Instrumental Importance). Adam Smith in his Wealth of Nations also talks about effects of particular types of exclusion such as certain sections of the population being kept out of the market either through legislation of due to lack of education. From this perspective, an impoverished life is one without the freedom to undertake activities that a person has reasons to choose to be able to lead a minimally decent and dignified life. More generally, social exclusion could take the form of what Adam Smith described as a key component of social life—not being able to appear in public without shame.
This is closely related to the distinction that Sen has made in the concept as ‘Active’ and ‘Passive’ exclusion. This is defined in terms of the presence or absence of deliberate attempt of exclusion. For example, poverty as a result of unemployment due to exclusion of a certain group from employment opportunities is what could be

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