Does the social inclusion discourse add value?

Marston, Greg & Dee, Michael J. (2012) Does the social inclusion discourse add value? In The Australian Sociological Association Annual Conference, November 27-29, Brisbane.

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The election of a national Labor Government in 2007 saw ‘social inclusion’ emerge as Australia’s overarching social policy agenda. Being ‘included’ has since been defined as being able to ‘have the resources, opportunities and capabilities needed to learn, work, engage and have a voice’. Various researchers have adopted the social inclusion concept to construct a multi-dimensional framework for measuring disadvantage, beyond poverty alleviation. This research program has enabled various forms of statistical modelling based on some agreement about what it means to be ‘included’ in society. At the same time it is acknowledged that social inclusion remains open and contestable and can be used in the name of both progressive and more punitive programs and policies. This ambiguity raises questions about whether the social inclusion framework, as it is presently defined, has the potential to be a progressive and transformative discourse. In this paper we examine whether the Australian social inclusion agenda has the capacity to address social inequality in a meaningful way, concluding with a discussion about the need to understand social inequality and social disadvantage in relational terms.

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ID Code: 56422
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > POLICY AND ADMINISTRATION (160500) > Social Policy (160512)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Schools > School of Public Health & Social Work
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2012 (please consult the author).
Deposited On: 15 Jan 2013 06:00
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2014 19:32

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