Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Social Exclusion: Amartya Sen's paper summary

Summary of Social exclusion and Sen's understanding:
(Please DO READ!)

Definitions: 
1) René Lenoir is given credit of authorship of the expression. He used this term in the context of a section of the French population which included mentally and physically handicapped, suicidal people, aged invalids,abused children, substance abusers, delinquents, single parents, multi-problem households, marginal, asocial persons, and other social ‘misfits’.

2) Silver points out a few things people may be excluded from which must include the following:
a livelihood; secure, permanent employment; earnings; property, credit, or land; housing; minimal or prevailing consumption levels; education, skills, and cultural capital; the welfare state; citizenship and legal equality; democratic participation; public goods; the nation or the dominant race; family and sociability; humanity, respect, fulfillment and understanding.

3) According to Dr K F Jalal, social exclusion should be focused on processes through which deprivation occurs—processes “through which individuals or groups are wholly or partially excluded from full participation in the society in which they live.”

According to Sen, Social exclusion addresses two central issues -
a) Epistemology - how to get a better understanding of the diverse phenomena of deprivation and poverty 
b) Policy implications of that understanding - how to improve policymaking

Sen discusses social exclusion as capability deprivation.
[Can also be used for short note on poverty as capability deprivation]

Characterization of poverty:
1) shortage of income: Classicaly, poverty has been seen in terms of shortage of income. Income determines the standards of living in a big way. However, Sen uses poverty as not shortage of income, but in a broader context of capability deprivation.Income is just one of the means to understand poverty, and cannot be the sole criteria.

2) poor living: In this Aristotelian perspective, an impoverished life is one without the freedom to undertake important activities that a person has reason to choose. Adam Smith calls it the ability to appear in public without shame. Thus, poverty is seen as the lack of capability to live a minimally decent life.

Coming back to social exclusion:
1) According to the Aristotelian understanding. the individual lives an inescapably “social” life. Thus the inability to interact freely with others is an important deprivation itself as it deprives one from fully participating in community life.

2) Being excluded from social relations can lead to other deprivations as well, thereby further limiting our living opportunities. Social exclusion can, thus, be a part of capability deprivation as well as a cause of diverse capability failures.

The idea of social exclusion is also present in Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations where he analyses the effects of particular types of exclusion. For example people being kept out of markets (through legislation) or out of education (through lack of private means and public support). He investigated the characteristics of social exclusion within a broader concept of deprivation in the form of inability to do things that one has reason to want to do.



Active and passive exclusion:
Active: deliberate exclusion, say of a particular community in a nation
Passive: non-deliberate exclusion, say due to high inflation in India, the poor are deprived from food and hence excluded from enjoying a minimal life

Indian constitution and Social exclusion
Preamble says that we must secure to all our citizens 
1) "equality" of status and opportunity - It is not difficult to see that social exclusion deprives certain communities from both status and opportunity.

2) "fraternity" - dignity of an individual and unity and integrity of the nation.Fraternity demands avoiding social exclusion as exclusion clearly fails to honor the dignity of one set of people as against another and this leaves a fragmented nation against the promise of unity and integrity.

Some of the dimensions of exclusion important from policy perspective are -
1) Inequality of status - SC/STs, manual scavengers etc
2) Inequality of opportunities - SC/STs, disabled etc
3) Gender related exclusions
4) Poverty related exclusions - malnutrition, education, health care




1 comment:

abby said...

its really helpful,thanks.... :)