Exclusion, rights and citizenship

There are clear links between the concept of social exclusion and a rights-based approach to development. Social exclusion analysis can help to identify which groups are being denied access to their rights, and which actors or organisations are blocking their access.  A social exclusion analysis is useful even when rights are not on the agenda, because it can help focus attention on those within society who are denied access to resources, institutions or decision-making processes. Social exclusion therefore also links to development agendas focusing on citizenship, participation, democratisation and accountability.

Social exclusion addresses the political nature of deprivation, in that it examines the links between people’s lack of citizenship status and their levels of poverty. Citizenship is centred on the capability of exercising individual and collective rights, and inequalities in this capability can generate a social hierarchy, made up of first- and second-class citizens. This often means that not all individuals are equal before the law, and that they do not all have the same access to public goods supplied by the state. Political aspects of exclusion can include the lack of political rights, such as political participation and the right to organise; alienation from or lack of confidence in political processes; and lack of freedom of expression and equality of opportunity.

The following paper includes a discussion on social exclusion as ‘incomplete citizenship’.

Gore, C. (with J. B. Figueiredo & G. Rodgers). (1995). Introduction: Markets, Citizenship and Social Exclusion. In Rodgers, G., Gore, C. & Figueiredo, J. B., Social Exclusion: Rhetoric, Reality, Responses. A contribution to the World Summit for Social Development (1-40). International Institute for Labour Studies.
What are the advantages of adopting a social exclusion approach to issues of citizenship rights? Section II.2 of this chapter argues that the condition of citizenship must be a clear part of development policy analysis. Citizenship rights appear to be severely limited in many low-income countries, with civil and political rights often as reduced as social rights. Human rights conditionality prods governments to provide certain rights to their citizens, but macro-economic conditionality undermines countries’ actual capacity to do so.
Access full text: available online

The paper below argues that there are certain core values that people associate with the idea of citizenship. These include social justice, self-determination and a sense of horizontal solidarity with others.

Kabeer, N. (2005). The Search for Inclusive Citizenship: Meanings and Expressions in an Interconnected World. In Kabeer, N. (Ed.), Inclusive Citizenship. Zed Books
What does ‘citizenship’ mean for excluded groups around the world? What do these meanings tell us about the goal of building inclusive societies? This chapter outlines some of the values and meanings associated with citizenship. It considers how debates around citizenship, rights and duties can be interpreted in the light of these values, and discusses the emergence of an explicit rights-based approach in the development agenda.
Access full text: available online

Gibney, M. (2006). Who should be Included? Noncitizens, Conflict and the Constitution of the Citizenry. CRISE Working Paper 17. Oxford: University of Oxford.
What can the consideration of citizenship issues contribute to debates on political institutions in divided societies? What does it mean to distribute citizenship fairly? This paper considers the question of access to citizenship and associated rights for noncitizens. A growing literature has been concerned with the tyranny of ethnic majorities in democratic political systems, but a ‘tyranny of the citizens’ should also be considered. Residents of a society who are stateless or ‘informal members’ should have genuine opportunities to gain citizenship.
Access full text: available online

For further evidence on social exclusion and justice, see the GSDRC topic guide on justice

Crichton, J., Scott, Z. & Haider, H. (2012). Topic Guide on Justice. Birmingham: GSDRC, University of Birmingham.
Access full text: available online
See in particular the section on human rights, gender and social exclusion