Multidimensionality

Social exclusion is multidimensional, and can encompass a lack of access to employment, legal redress and markets; a lack of political voice; and poor social relationships. Authors therefore argue that it is not enough to examine these issues individually, and that the links between them must be explored.

De Haan, A. (1999). Social Exclusion: Towards an Holistic Understanding of Deprivation. London: DFID.
What are the conceptual merits of the notion of social exclusion, and how relevant is it for developing countries? This paper considers the usefulness of social exclusion as a framework for understanding deprivation. It argues that the value of the concept lies in focusing attention on two central elements of deprivation: its multidimensionality and the processes and social relations that underlie it.
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Bhalla, A., & Lapeyre, F. (1997). Social Exclusion: Towards an Analytical and Operational Framework. Development and Change, 28(3), 413–433.
What is the difference between poverty and social exclusion? How can the concept of social exclusion be used as a tool for policy-making? This paper argues that social exclusion overlaps with poverty but goes beyond it by explicitly embracing the relational as well as the distributional aspects of poverty. The concept has universal validity although it has not gained much attention in developing countries. An analytical framework should establish the interrelationships between the social, economic and political dimensions of exclusion.
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Social exclusion also sees deprivation and lack of participation as stemming from factors beyond low income.

Burchardt T., Le Grand J., & Piachaud D. (2002). Introduction. In Hills, J., Le Grand, J. & Piachaud, D (Eds.), Understanding Social Exclusion. Oxford University Press.
There are three main approaches to analysing and understanding social exclusion. These respectively emphasise the roles of: individuals; institutions and systems; and discrimination and lack of enforced rights. Given the complexity of influences on individuals, however, a broad perspective is most helpful.
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Fischer, A. (2011). Reconceiving Social Exclusion (Working Paper No. 146). Brooks World Poverty Institute.
This paper argues that social exclusion should be clearly differentiated from poverty. It proposes a reconceptualisation of social exclusion, not as a static state, but as ‘structural, institutional or agentive processes of repulsion or obstruction’ (p. 3). This definition encompasses processes occurring vertically throughout social hierarchies, not just in their lower strata. It enables social exclusion to inform analyses of stratification, segregation and subordination, especially within contexts of high or rising inequality. This redefinition can be applied to situations: 1) where exclusions lead to stratifying or impoverishing trajectories without any short-term poverty outcomes; 2) where the upward mobility of poor people is hindered by exclusions occurring among the non-poor; and 3) to situations of inequality-induced conflict.
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