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On the margins of inclusion

On the margins of inclusion: Changing labour markets and social exclusion in London

David M. Smith
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  • Book Info
    On the margins of inclusion
    Book Description:

    On the margins of inclusion explores the notion of 'social exclusion' from the perspective of those deemed to be 'socially excluded' and provides a compelling and vivid portrait of lives at the insecure, low-paid end of the labour market. The ethnography is used to illuminate key issues in sociology and social policy and to tackle debates and controversies that are central to current discussions on the appropriate role and function of state welfare. A thorough discussion of current policies to address social exclusion and area regeneration is woven into the fieldwork analysis. On the margins of inclusion is essential reading for researchers, academics and higher-level students in sociology and social policy, and will also be of interest to policy makers in the field.

    eISBN: 978-1-84742-136-4
    Subjects: Political Science, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Foreword
    (pp. vi-x)
    John Macnicol

    In the past 10 to 15 years, the term ‘social exclusion’ has supplanted ‘poverty’ in British social policy discourses. Its recent origins are probably to be found in the European poverty programme of the 1990s and, before that, in French social debates (where the term was used to denote those on the margins of society, who had slipped through the social insurance safety net). Soon after taking office in May 1997, Britain’s New Labour government established the Cabinet Office Social Exclusion Unit and shifted governmental and academic analyses of poverty in a new direction. Labour’s ostensible rationale was that whole...

  2. ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-16)

    This book examines the impact of changing labour markets and social policies on the life chances and working lives of a group of economically marginal individuals, on the locality that they inhabit and on their social relations. Anthony Giddens (1990) has argued that central to an individual’s sense of ‘ontological security’ is the confidence that people have in the continuity of their self-identity and in the constancy of their social and economic environments. The “intensification of worldwide social relations which link distant localities in such a way that local happenings are shaped by events occurring many miles away and vice...

  3. TWO Globalisation and social exclusion
    (pp. 17-38)

    The processes that have expanded the scale of global capitalism have occurred in varying degrees across the globe and increased the generation of wealth, while polarising its distribution both within as well as between countries (Townsend, 1993). These processes, it has been claimed, have eroded the capacity of nation states to act independently of the global market and challenged the assumptions and principles on which the post-war state rests. In political, business and many academic circles it has become part of the conventional wisdom that governments, businesses and individuals have no choice but to adapt to these changes. Robert Reich,...

  4. THREE Poverty and social exclusion: theory and policy
    (pp. 39-62)

    The intention in this chapter is to show how the current ‘social exclusion’ concept has been deployed in the UK and the historical, institutional and political contexts that have influenced the debates surrounding the causes of poverty and social exclusion. The social exclusion concept originated in EU poverty programmes during the 1980s while in Britain and the US the same concerns were addressed in terms of the emergence of an urban ‘underclass’ (Silver, 1994). The concepts are not unrelated and both are concerned with the relative roles of agency and structural and/or institutional causes and both emerged together with debates...

  5. FOUR Life and labour on the St. Helier estate, 1930-2000
    (pp. 63-86)

    The St. Helier estate was built between 1928 and 1936 as part of a broader response to the nation’s housing problems in the inter-war period. Seebohm Rowntree’s (1917) reportHousing in England and Walesestimated that 300,000 houses a year needed to be built immediately after the First World War. Given the scale and costs of construction, the report argued that the private sector would be unable to meet demand, and the state or local authority should assume responsibility in providing affordable housing (Fraser, 1984, p 181).The scale of state involvement in housing increased rapidly and between 1914 and 1939,...

  6. FIVE Labour market opportunities and welfare-to-work
    (pp. 87-114)

    “I’d take a proper job if one came up but it’d have to be the right job and it’d have to pay the right money (…) this sort of thing’s not what I intended doing and I’ve probably been doing it for too long. I mean it is an option but it’s not one that I’d have seen myself doing when I was at school (…) I thought I’d fall into something, like when my dad left school he never had a clue … but he got married and stuck at the same job for like over 30 years. I...

  7. SIX Lone-parent households
    (pp. 115-142)

    Lone-parent families have been a recurrent topic of public debate in Britain in the context of significant changes in family structure and the challenges to social policy that such changes pose. Married couples with children fell from 80% of all families in 1990 to 68% in 1997 (Matheson and Babb, 2002, p 43). Over the same period the number of lone parents increased by approximately 50%, from 1.15 million to 1.73 million. Lone-parent households comprise 24% of all families with dependent children in the UK, the highest proportion in the EU and over three times the proportion of 1971 (Moss...

  8. SEVEN Informal opportunities and social divisions
    (pp. 143-166)

    Investigating the magnitude of paid informal work has proven extremely problematic. Estimates of its scale have remained relatively constant since the early 1980s, ranging from 6% to 8% of GDP, despite fundamental changes in the economy and labour market over this period (Cook, 1998). Harding and Jenkins point out that a lack of regulation has been the historical norm, and changes in institutional boundaries and regulations will cause a corresponding realignment of formal/informal relationships. Defining an informal ‘sector’ is further complicated because of the different sources of labour and distinct spheres in which ‘informal’ activities occur, and they distinguish the...

  9. EIGHT Labour markets, exclusion and social capital
    (pp. 167-192)

    Chapter Seven revealed how the chances to augment income and consumption through informal activities are hierarchically structured through the employment relationships and the social relations that surround such work. The benefits that flow from these closed labour markets accrue over time to the same groups of people, and lead to the capture of sets of opportunity through the network’s role as an agency of information and/or an agency of influence (Grieco, 1987).The salience of this aspect of stratification is that they provide avenues to resources, which allow access to forms of consumption and participation in lifestyles that represent distinct styles...

  10. NINE On the margins of inclusion
    (pp. 193-214)

    In Chapter One the aims of this book were laid out. First, to examine how different groups of economically marginal people negotiate the offerings of a ‘post-industrial’ labour market and a welfare system geared towards reintegrating them into formal employment. Second, to explore the role of localised social relations in both shaping and supporting the varied adaptions and processes of accommodation made in response to these structural and institutional coordinates. The starting point for any analysis of social exclusion must be the restructuring of labour markets and the reformulation of welfare as an instrument to facilitate that process. These provide...