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Social Exclusion Essay

4422 words - 18 pages

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. Rowntree (1899) in Townsend (1979) refers to
'Primary Poverty'' This means people do not generate enough money each
week to afford a normal, healthy life style even if they act frugally,
and 'Secondary Poverty' which is having enough funds to cover the
basic essentials, but being less thrifty. More recently Joseph
Rowntree talks about being in 'Absolute' and Overall' Poverty'.This
was discussed and defined at the World Summit for Social Development
in 1995 in Copenhagen. (4). It is seen as the first attempt to set
down a definition that could be used to compare poverty consistently
across countries. A criticism of absolute poverty is that it was based
on an assumption that there are minimum basic needs for all people, in
all societies (5)

Relative Poverty or Deprivation...

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