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Inclusive equality

Inclusive equality: A vision for social justice

Sally Witcher
Copyright Date: 2013
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  • Book Info
    Inclusive equality
    Book Description:

    In an era of ongoing economic failures, as governments cut support to the poorest, the richest continue to get richer and those in-between are squeezed by rising costs and flagging incomes, the challenges for social cohesion – and for social justice – seem overwhelming. As inequality increases, it can become harder to empathise with life experiences far removed from our own, particularly when fuelled by a sense of injustice. Our samenesses and our differences can remain unseen, unvalued or misunderstood. In this ambitious, wide-ranging book, the author sets out a vision for social justice as 'inclusive equality', where barriers to equality and inclusion are removed to the maximum extent possible while preserving and strengthening social cohesion. Weaving together themes from the theoretical literatures on social justice, poverty, discrimination and social exclusion, she explores relationships between equality, diversity and inclusion - a novel approach that reveals clear, practical implications for the design and delivery of social policy.

    eISBN: 978-1-4473-0005-2
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. v-vi)
  4. Preface
    (pp. vii-x)
    Sally Witcher
  5. ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-30)

    Regardless of their affiliation, politicians down the ages have avowed their commitment to the pursuit of fairness or, more grandly, social justice. While at face value this might be cause for celebration, there are of course less happy interpretations of the apparent consensus. Either politicians all share the same goal, or terms such as ‘fairness’ and ‘social justice’ can mean whatever the utterer wants them to mean, thereby rendering them completely meaningless. They become reduced to ‘feel-good’ words that all can unite behind (Piachaud, 2008), even if what people understand by them is diametrically opposed (see Burchardt and Craig, 2008)....

  6. TWO Social justice
    (pp. 31-62)

    What is a just society? Presumably it is one where outcomes reflect norms of fairness. Bound up with this will be cultural views on human nature and appropriate behaviours, expectations about roles, and what characteristics and/or skills are valued. Views on the capacity of individuals to forge their own destiny, and hence their responsibility for outcomes both good and bad, will also be relevant. Goals need to be defined. Are we aiming for equality? If so, why? Equality of what and with what (or whom)? Can inequality be just if it mirrors unequal effort or skills? Perhaps inequality should not...

  7. THREE Poverty
    (pp. 63-96)

    We now turn to explore themes from the literature on poverty to get a firmer grasp of the goods people need to have and what they need to be able to do if they are to be included in mainstream society. The relationship between ‘having’ and ‘doing’ needs to be unpacked, as do their implications for identity, status and social acceptance (drawing on Walzer’s observation that ‘being’ and ‘doing’ have as much to do with distributive justice as ‘having’). As discussed in the previous chapter, tangible goods can convey intangible, symbolic information about personal qualities and it seems plausible that...

  8. FOUR Discrimination
    (pp. 97-126)

    What exactly is discrimination? Its specific role in generating disadvantage requires clarification: ‘it is essential to distinguish discrimination from the larger phenomenon of disadvantage, as this can be seen in patterns of gender and racial inequality. These patterns are the products of a great variety of causes, of which discrimination is but one’ (Banton, 1994, p 19). This general point does, of course, apply to patterns of inequality pertaining to other groups as well. Moreover, if patterns of inequality are the outcome, it implies that it is necessary to explore where discrimination intervenes in the processes that give rise to...

  9. FIVE Social exclusion
    (pp. 127-154)

    At the beginning of the millennium social exclusion was described as ‘the single dominant issue on the current political agenda in contemporary Europe’ (Ratcliffe, 2000, p 169). According to the European Commission (a source of much activity on the subject) in their 1992 Communication ‘Towards a Europe of solidarity’ (COM (92) 542), social exclusion results from: ‘mechanisms whereby individuals and groups are excluded from taking part in the social exchanges, from the component practices and rights of social integration and identity. Social exclusion goes beyond participation in working life; it is felt and shown in the fields of housing, education,...

  10. SIX Inclusive policy processes
    (pp. 155-180)

    This chapter draws on themes arising from previous discussion and explores their implications for the way in which social policy is designed and delivered, if it is to enable people to realise capabilities. This seems likely to entail removing social barriers, increasing people’s resources and/or reducing their resource requirements.

    It was previously suggested that the outcome of one process becomes the starting point for the next. Processes may not be best viewed as merely the means to achieving an end outcome; outcomes could be the means of engaging in more processes. It has also been proposed that participation in relationship...

  11. SEVEN Relationships and identity
    (pp. 181-204)

    This chapter explores how incentives or disincentives to engagement can arise due to the way policy is delivered. What occurs at the point of face-to-face interaction is a key factor to inclusion. Without an appreciation of wider needs beyond the immediate focus, how interaction may be experienced, and the threats it can pose, it is difficult to know how to deliver processes in ways that will promote engagement. Without understanding differing objectives and motivations for engagement, parties may pull in different directions, jeopardising the coherence of the process. No matter how coherently structured a process may be, or how positive...

  12. EIGHT Conclusion
    (pp. 205-218)

    This book began by setting out a tentative proposition; a vision for mainstream society and for social justice, where diversity – of people, cultures, forms of contribution, and so on – is recognised, valued, and accommodated to the maximum extent possible. It followed that inclusion had to be on a basis of empowerment to express difference, rather than conditional on its oppression. However, it was acknowledged that there would be limits to what can be included without jeopardising social cohesion. It was proposed that exclusion on other grounds would contravene social justice.

    We are now in a position to understand...

  13. References
    (pp. 219-230)
  14. Index
    (pp. 231-238)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 239-239)