Social Exclusion

Social Exclusion

(Word count: 3093)

Social Sciences for Social Work
(SWK 2012)

: Examine the meaning of the concept of social exclusion and discuss how social work may respond to the reality of social exclusion.

The paper will look at ‘what is social exclusion’ and demonstrate how various groups and individuals are affected by it. It will further examine ‘what is social work’, its tasks and how these address social exclusion. This paper cannot examine all aspects of social exclusion, but will use examples of where social work is relevant in dealing with the issue. This paper looks at social work practice in particular in addressing issues arising from; poverty, unemployment, social policy and social work practice in relation to the social exclusion of people with a mental illness and or learning disability and the conflicting demands for preventative work with statutory responsibilities.

Ruth Levitas (2010) quoting Duffy (1995) and the Social Exclusion Unit (1997) argues that the definition of social exclusion is vague but refers to possible definitions as the 'inability to participate effectively in economic, social, political and cultural life, alienation and distance from the mainstream society'. and as 'a shorthand label for what can happen when individuals or areas suffer from a combination of linked problems such as unemployment, poor skills, low incomes, poor housing, high crime environments, bad health and family breakdown'.

Banks (1995) states that social work is a difficult occupation to define given that it embraces a number of different employment sectors, which occur in different settings with workers taking on a range of different tasks under the specific heading of social worker and general heading of social care. The ‘International Federation of Social Workers’ (IFSW) (2001) offers the following definition: ‘a profession which promotes social changes, problem solving in human relationships and the empowerment and liberation of people to enhance...

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