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Social Exclusion

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Introduction

Social Exclusion Introduction The task at hand, is to define and discuss various types of poverty, social exclusion, oppression and social policy, whilst indicating an understanding of sociological theories and the impact of social policy on society. In completing this assignment I hope to show that I have assimilated some knowledge through reading, research, and the college sequences so far. I will breakdown the assignment into its constituent parts, and discuss each part under a clear heading. Throughout the essay I will endeavour to show an awareness of sensitive issues, anti-discriminatory practice, and how this affects the delivery of social work services. Defining Poverty Poverty has been with us for hundreds of years, and research into this subject dates back to the earliest day of sociology. Poverty may be described as some individuals, and or groups who are disadvantaged in comparison to others, and that the poor do not have enough to sustain a decent standard of living. Does this really define poverty? What is meant by 'decent' standard of living? Poverty can mean having a 'shortage of the necessities of life'. This comes under the concept of 'need'. Equally, it can mean being unable to secure all the 'benefits of civilisation', which would come under the concept of 'social need' (1) Townsend (1979) discusses at length the concept of poverty and deprivation, and concludes that the two main types of poverty are 'Absolute' and 'Relative' poverty (2). Many would argue that there is no Absolute Poverty in Britain and that it only exists in third-world countries. Many homeless people in Britain would disagree, they live in cardboard box communities, and are fed from 'soup kitchens', which is about as absolute as you can get. Absolute Poverty Seebohm Rowntree based his definition of absolute poverty on a subsistence level, per se, 'the things people need, in order to stay alive'. Absolute poverty defines basic human 'need' in terms of food, shelter, and clothing. ...read more.

Middle

The benefits will be increased overseas trade, increased exports and decreased imports. This in turn will boost the manufacturing industries, creating new or more jobs. This means more people paying tax, less people taking benefits. This boosts the economy, which will free funds for other projects, or to decrease our own national debt. This is a societal or 'social' need. Social Exclusion Social exclusion is the process whereby individuals, or groups, within societies or cultures, are denied access to some of the benefits of that society or culture, brought about by the breakdown or failure of the systems by which that society or culture operate. The Prime Minister describes social exclusion as: 'A short hand label for what can happen when individuals or areas suffer from a combination of linked problems such as unemployment, poor skill, low incomes, poor housing, high crime environments, bad health and family breakdown.' (12) The root of social exclusion is poverty, and the deprivation that impoverishment causes. We must not as workers allow ourselves to forget this simple tenet. Some individuals or governments may see social exclusion as a more appropriate term than poverty, because it hides the reality of poverty. It is a more 'acceptable' label. The process (life long effects) of social exclusion can be seen at each stage of development. Those who suffer deprivation in the early years often under achieve. Long term unemployment during adulthood, may lead to poverty in old age, which in itself may lead to social exclusion at a time when we need to be included the most. People or groups with certain characteristics experience social exclusion more frequently than others do. Tony Blair is quoted in 'From Poverty to Social Justice' Goodlad. R. 'Those who do not have the means, material and otherwise, to participate in social, economic, political and cultural life.' (13) Characteristics most likely to increase the chance of social exclusion are ethnicity, sexuality, learning difficulties, physical impairment and religion. ...read more.

Conclusion

In some cases six times higher. A 45-year-old married man on a low income may pay �900 per year for mortgage protection, and health insurance. Much more than he would pay with a one penny in the pound tax hike. (22) Social workers must be aware (as must the government) of the debilitating effect social exclusion has on individuals's sense of themselves, low self-esteem, lack of confidence, low motivation, fear of change. This is often expressed in avoidance, non-compliance, and or aggression. We have to recognise that these are strategies people have developed in order to survive the effects of deprivation and social exclusion. Current Initiatives The present Government is promoting the cause of social Inclusion with some far reaching initiatives. * National Minimum Wage * Working Families Tax credit * Increased Child Benefit * New Deal for Lone Parents * New Deal for 18 - 24 year olds * New Deal for the Long Term Unemployed * New Community Schools (23). These initiatives, will help educate those suffering social exclusion, and enable them to become included. John Sewel, the Minister for social inclusion in Scotland says 'The problems associated with social exclusion are deep-rooted and complex. Complex problems require thoughtful solutions: single-programme approaches are unlikely to be successful.' (24) Conclusion To cover such a vast topic within the constraints of the criteria has been difficult. Some areas may seem a little lean on 'substance', and I apologise for this, but I found it necessary to prioritise in order to cover the main points of the assignment. I have defined and discussed poverty and given some possible solutions that could be introduced to ease the situation. I have stated how research identifies need, and I have looked at oppression and the effects of social policy on society. I hope that through the use of 'quotes' and my own personal comments, I have shown some absorption of knowledge through research and reading, and in doing so have become more aware of how they will affect my practice as a social worker. ...read more.

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