16 Critical Soc. Pol'y 5 (1996)

handle is hein.journals/critsplcy16 and id is 1 raw text is: 


                                                   ARTICLES




O   RUTH LEVITAS
    University of Bristol



    The  concept of social exclusion and the new
    Durkheimian hegemony



    Abstract
    This article argues that the concept of social exclusion, which was orig-
    inally developed to describe the manifold consequences of poverty and
    inequality, has become embedded  as a crucial element within a new
    hegemonic  discourse. Within this discourse, terms such as social co-
    hesion and solidarity abound, and social exclusion is contrasted not with
    inclusion but with integration, construed as integration into the labour
    market. The paper analyses the operation of this discourse in recent pol-
    icy documents from the European Union and the Borrie Report, as well
    as in the work of Will Hutton. The discourse is described as fundamen-
    tally Durkheimian because it treats social divisions which are endemic to
    capitalism as resulting from an abnormal breakdown in the social co-
    hesion which should be maintained by the division of labour. The article
    argues that, within this discourse, the concept of social exclusion oper-
    ates both to devalue unpaid work and to obscure the inequalities between
    paid workers, as well as to obscure the fundamental social division be-
    tween the property-owning class and the rest of society.

In the late 1980s, the term 'underclass' became current in both lay and
sociological discourses about the state of the nation. In 1987, Michael
Ignatieff chaired  a televised discussion between   Ray  Pahl,  Ralph
Dahrendorf,  Stuart Hall  and the free marketeer  Lord  Harris on  the
question of whether there really was an underclass in Britain (Thinking
Aloud, 12 November   87). The sociologists appeared to agree that while
one could  not strictly speaking talk about a class, since the 'group' in
question  lacked permanence,  intergenerational continuity  and hom-

    Critical Social Policy 46 (SAGE: London, Thousand Oaks, CA and New Delhi), Vol. 16 (1996):
    5-20.


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