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Social Exclusion: Towards a Holistic Understanding of Deprivation

By Arjan de Haan, 1999

The paper provides a history of the term-- ttributed to Rene Lenoir, Secretary of State for Social Action in the French government in a document published in 1974 entitled Les Exlus: Un Francais sur dix--and discusses the impact of the social exclusion approach on social policy in the European Union and the United Kingdome. De Haan, a Dutch sociologist who are worked with the Poverty Research Unit at the University of Sussex and is currently Social Development Advisor for the United Kingdom, Department for International Development, argues that the value of social exclusion as an approach to social policy lies in its focus on the relations and processes that cause deprivation, the fact that it starts from a general idea about the importance of integration in society, and its underlying assumption that exclusion is a multidimensional process (people are often deprived of a number of things at the same time). In these respects, overcoming social exclusion goes beyond reducing poverty to the full integration of marginalized people in their society. Finally, he argues that social exclusion is a concept, which can--and in fact must--be adapted to the conditions and cultures of different societies.