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Promoting human development

Promoting Human Development

Summary

Conceptual framework

The goal of human development is to enable groups and individuals to exercise their choices to be what they want to be and do what they wants to do . It puts people at the center of the analysis and advocates for strategies that combine equity, efficiency, sustainability and empowerment. Social exclusion hampers choices and opportunities, thus reduce human development. Inclusion is therefore the goal to achieve, through economic, cultural, social and political processes and policies. Social inclusion and reducing social exclusion are therefore means of achieving human development by addressing the discrimination, powerlessness and accountability failures that lie at the root of exclusion. Social inclusion adds the process dimension of exclusion (the agents, groups, and institutions that exclude) to the human development concept.

Working definitions

  • Social exclusion refers to the processes which hamper people and group’s opportunities to exercise the full range of their choices as well as to the outcome of marginalization ensued. It results from direct or indirect discrimination rules and behavior, processes, policy, regulations, and institutional practices can impose, advertently or inadvertently against one or some groups of population compared to the others as well as from social traditions and values among different social groups of population. Social exclusion is multi-dimensional and often involves economic, political, cultural, social and spatial exclusion. Multiple deprivations often reinforce each other.
  • Social inclusion: The European Commission defines social inclusion as “a process which ensures that those at risk of poverty and social exclusion gain the opportunities and resources necessary to participate fully in economic, social and cultural life and to enjoy a standard of living and well-being that is considered normal in the society in which they live.
  • Human development refers to the process of enlarging people’s choices to be who they want to be and do what they want to do by expanding their capabilities and functioning. It refers to processes and outcomes of development about people, by people and for people.

The case of the ECIS

  • There are patterns of exclusion among individuals and groups in the ECIS region, based on their ascribed characteristics (gender, ethnicity, geographical location, language, religion, age, sexual orientation, beliefs and disability) or their achieved status ( income status, health status, employment, educational attainment, access and assets, etc)
  • Exclusion is manifested through and results in exclusions from political, social, cultural and economic life in societies.
  • Exclusion in one domain reinforces exclusion in others
  • Exclusion in the region is the result of the dynamic interaction between legacies, policies and institutions
  • Patterns of exclusion are hampering progress towards human development in the region, albeit or unevenly.
  • The analysis and policy prescriptions for the regional report can be informed by the experiences of the EU common social inclusion objectives and the “Open Method of Coordination” mechanisms.

The Regional Human Development Report for Central and Eastern Europe and the CIS for 2010 examines social exclusion in the region through the lens of human development. The report analyses the different facets and causes of social exclusion in Europe and the CIS region and provides recommendations for promoting social inclusion.

This chapter sets the scene by looking at the conceptual linkages between human development and social inclusion, analyzes social exclusion as a process and state of being excluded from the life of a community, and explores the potential of a social inclusion-based analysis to better understand and address the social dynamics of poverty and inequality in the ECIS region.

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Part I: Human Development and Social Inclusion: An Analytical Framework

The concept of social inclusion, which is at the heart of social policy-making in regional institutions like the European Union, is very much congruent with the human development approach that has been advocated through UNDP global, regional and national human development reports since the 1990s.

The European Commission defines social inclusion as a process which ensures that those who are at the risk of poverty and social exclusion gain the opportunities and resources necessary to participate fully in economic, social and cultural life and to enjoy a standard of living and well-being that is considered normal in the society in which they live.

Social exclusion thus conversely refers to both the processes which hamper individuals’ and groups’ opportunities to exercise the full range of their choices and to the outcome of such processes. As a result, this bears a strong co-relation with the absence of human development, which by itself requires processes of enlarging people’s choices to realize their own potential by a heightened capability.

Together with the human rights framework, these approaches are all multi-dimensional and interlinked, and take into account all entitlements relevant for enlarging the choices of individuals to live a decent and meaningful life. In addition, they share a common concern about equity, non-discrimination and inclusive participation.

As this Report will argue, there are a multiplicity of exclusion patterns among individuals and groups in the ECIS region, based on myriad ascribed characteristics-linguistic, geographic, gender-based, economic, religious, educational, etc- which all reinforce each other. The inescapable consequence of such a vicious interaction leads to the denial of human development.

1. Human Development: A People-Centered Approach

The human development paradigm, founded in 1990 by Mahbub ul Haq, Amartya Sen, Frances Stewart, Paul Streeten and others and advocated through the UNDP Human Development Reports, sets itself apart from previous development theories by arguing that economic growth does not automatically trickle down to improve people’s well-being. Human development proceeds from the perspective of the individual, which, by virtue of his or her existence, has a moral right to develop his or her inherent capacities to the fullest extent possible and to exercise the greatest possible freedom of choice in shaping his or her own life within society.

As has been already argued in a series of global, regional and national Human Development Reports, The human development concept thus advocates putting people back at centre stage, both as the means and ends of development and defines the end of development as the expansion of human choices, freedoms and capabilities. In the words of Mahbub Ul Haq, “The basic purpose of development is to enlarge people’s choices. In principle, these choices can be infinite and can change over time. People often value achievements that do not show up at all, or not immediately, in income or growth figures: greater access to knowledge, better nutrition and health services, more secure livelihoods, security against crime and physical violence, satisfying leisure hours, political and cultural freedoms and sense of participation in community activities. The objective of development is to create an enabling environment for people to enjoy long, healthy and creative lives” (Mahbub Ul Haq, 1990).

As Amartya Sen argues, economic growth provides one with the necessary passport to other ‘good’ things in life, but it is not an end in itself. Those ‘other’ things constitute the ‘quality’ of life which, in its turn, goes to expand people’s ‘capabilities’ and provide them with larger freedom and choice to embrace a kind of life that they may have “reason to value” (Sen 1999)

Human development thus emphasizes two simultaneous processes: One is the formation of human capabilities as an explicit development objective, the other is the use that people make of their acquired capabilities for functioning in society and fulfilling the choices they make in all aspects in their lives. It is therefore both a destination, a goal for social and political processes, as well as a road to get there, one that allows for ‘agency’ for people themselves.

While the human development concept avoids prescriptions and concentrates more on the ultimate goal of development, it suggests a simultaneous, not sequential achievement of five policy principles:

  • Efficiency/productivity: the optimal use of human capital through investment in the education, health, aspirations and skills of people as well as efficient use of resources and pro-growth policies.
  • Equity: distributive justice and the fair distribution of incomes and assets through equal access to opportunities
  • Sustainability: concern for not only present generations but future ones as well
  • Empowerment/participation: enabling people to attain a level of individual development that allows them to make choices close to their hearts. These choices can be developed through emphasising on developing freedom as both a constitutive value (value by itself) as well an instrumental value ( as a means to efficiency and to equity) (Sen)

With its emphasis on choices and freedoms, the significance of access to education, health care and other social services, as well as guarantees of basic political rights and freedoms, including gender equality and freedom of movement, and the ability to participate in the activities of the community with self-respect and without shame are highlighted. Lack of education, poor healthcare, inadequate economic possibilities, violation of political freedom, and the neglect of citizens’ rights, could restrict people’s choices and freedoms.

If the objective of development is to create an enabling environment for people to enjoy long, healthy and fruitful lives, social exclusion both as a process and as an outcome can categorically hamper choices and opportunities, thus reducing human development.

The first imperative is therefore to identify the socially excluded groups, their characteristics, as well as the social, political, cultural and economic processes that may lead to the production and reproduction of exclusion.

2. Social Inlusion and Social Exclusion

As defined in the Charter of the Fundamental Rights of the European Union, social inclusion is a process which ensures that those at risk of poverty and social exclusion gain the opportunities and resources necessary to participate fully in economic, social and cultural life and to enjoy a standard of living and well-being that is considered normal in the society in which they live. It ensures that they have greater participation in decision making which affects their lives and access to their fundamental rights.

The European Union defines people as living in poverty or social exclusion, when they “are prevented from participating fully in economic, social and civil life and/or when their access to income and other resources (personal, family, social and cultural) is so inadequate as to exclude them from enjoying a standard of living and quality of life that is regarded as acceptable by the society in which they live” (European Commission 2001).

Among the different defitions of social exclusion, there is a broad agreement that it consists of exclusion from social, political and economic institutions resulting from a complex and dynamic set of processes and relationships that prevent individuals or groups from accessing resources, participating in society and asserting their rights. (Beall & Piron, 2005).

Within a discourse of citizenship, social rights and social justice, social exclusion is not understood as lack of access to goods but as lack of access to rights. Accordingly, the opposite of social exclusion is not inclusion but participation. Such view of the concept is very closely linked to the human development approach and highlights the agents that lead to social exclusion: discriminatory practices and institutional barriers that prevent the access to public services and political participation (Lister 2004). For Sen (2000), social exclusion almost reflects the Aristotelian perspective of an impoverished life where one does not have the freedom to undertake important activities that a person has reason to choose[2].

This Report posits therefore that social exclusion constitutes an infringement on the rights of individuals and groups. If unchecked, such infringement may lead to serious constraints on individual personal development, wellbeing, freedoms and choices. From the human development point of view, social exclusion is the process and outcome that hampers the wide range of human fulfilment. It refers to limited and inequitable opportunities and capabilities of individual and groups to fully take part in economic, social, political and cultural life.

The social exclusion lens thus provides a new perspective on the human development approach by assigning a central role to relational connections and emphasizing on the process dimension of exclusion (the agents, groups, and institutions that exclude).

For the purposes of this report, then, a definition of social exclusion that encorporates the human development approach is as followed: Social exclusion refers to the processes which hamper people and group’s opportunities to exercise the full range of their choices as well as to the outcome of marginalization ensued.

As Sen argues, people may be excluded from some opportunity because of a deliberate policy or practice prevalent in the society they live in, which he calls as instances of ‘active exclusion’. This may result in the ‘constitutive’ part of their ‘capability deprivation’. And once they are burdened with this deprivation in one field, they are leading a handicapped life and this might be responsible for their deprivations in other fields in life. Sen calls the second category ‘capability failures’ and assigns ‘instrumental’ role to the factor of social exclusions for that. The potential remedy lies in changing certain specific policies that should target the groups or communities which are at a disadvantageous position because of such exclusionary practices.

Yet, there are many ‘capability deprivations’ that result from a complex web of deep institutional issues intertwined with systemic configurations on economic and socio-political fronts. In such cases, the deprivation comes about through social processes in which there are no deliberate attempt to exclude. Sen calls them cases of ‘passive exclusion’ (Sen 2000).

For example, cases of unemployment among a particular community of people, eg. migrants in their host country, on account of certain legal restrictions would constitute an instance of ‘active’ exclusion, which is in this case a constitutive exclusion as well. The other capability deprivations among this community of migrants, which follow from their unemployment could be termed as their ‘capability failures’. This too can be explained as ‘active’ exclusion. When unemployment is the result of complex web of multiple institutional and systemic factors, ‘passive’ exclusion occurs, in that the people are after all ‘excluded’ from the opportunity to be employed.

The Human Development paradigm would be effective in understanding these cases because it looks at the perspective from an inter-systemic point of view and presents them more in a holistic perspective.

3. Convergence and Relationships

Social exclusion and human development

As discussed above, the human development approach stresses the significance of education, access to adequate social services (health, education, access to water and utilities, social protection, housing, etc), environmental sustainability, gender equality, human security and respect for individual rights. Social exclusion, which prevents access through institutional, community- and personal-level barriers to important social goods and services, whether as a result of deliberate discrimination or lack of capacity to deliver, whether as a result of active or passive exclusion, impedes people’s ability to live a full life.

Social inclusion adds the process dimension of exclusion (the agents, groups, and institutions that exclude) to the human development concept. A social inclusion perspective can thus help sharpen the strategies for achieving human development by addressing the discrimination, exclusion, powerlessness and accountability failures that lie at the root of poverty and other development problems. Both concepts are complementary in policy terms: human development bears a stronger focus on what needs to be achieved; while social inclusion focuses on how it should be achieved.

The Relationship between Social Exclusion and Human Development

  • What can limit freedoms and choices is social exclusion, both as a process and as an outcome. However, there are limitations of freedoms in all societies that affect the mainstream population without creating exclusion.
  • Exclusion hampers choices and opportunities, thus reduce human development.
  • From the human development point of view, social exclusion is the process and outcome that hampers the wide range of human fulfilment.
  • Inclusion is one of the goals to achieve, there might be others (e.g. environmental sustainability, conflicts etc) that do not directly depend on social exclusion.
  • Both concepts are complementary in policy terms: human development bears a stronger focus on what needs to be achieved; while social inclusion focuses on how it should be achieved.
  • Social inclusion adds the process dimension of exclusion (the agents, groups, and institutions that exclude) to the human development concept.
  • Social inclusion is also focused on those that are excluded, thus emphasizing the equity principle. Human Development does look at broader societal improvements that affects also those that are not excluded (once again, environmental sustainability can be an example), although it is true that guaranteeing the inclusion of all can have broader positive repercussions on the rest of society.
  • A social inclusion perspective can thus help sharpen the strategies for achieving human development by addressing the discrimination, exclusion, powerlessness and accountability failures that lie at the root of poverty and other development problems.

Social Inclusion as the path to human development:

What follows as the logical consequence that human development is the larger goal to achieve. Can the social inclusion approach be the ‘best practice’ in this regard? Social inclusion policies, in principle, are ways to achieve human development: They are designed to correct negative outcomes of exclusion which can be ascribed to gender; age; ethnicity; location; economic, education, or health status or disability, etc., be these intentional (e.g., systematic discrimination) or unintentional (i.e., the failure to recognize the differential impact of policies on individuals or groups).

The EU charter of Fundamental Rights defines social inclusion as “a process which ensures that those at risk of poverty and social exclusion gain the opportunities and resources necessary to participate fully in economic, social and cultural life and to enjoy a standard of living and well-being that is considered normal in the society in which they live. It ensures that they have greater participation in decision making which affects their lives and access to their fundamental rights”. The significant element of phraseology used in this definition is ‘greater participation’, which implies that the social inclusion approach is not just satisfied at present with tendering a so-called platform of ‘equality’ to ‘all’. Rather, it is more concerned with a futureobjective of achieving ‘equality’ for ‘all’.

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Thus, the social inclusion approach acknowledges the need to proffer to those excluded a ‘greater’ say in the scheme of things than what they receive now, i.e. a ‘greater participation’ in comparison with that of the non-excluded. In terms of legalese, this is known as ‘positive discrimination’ in favour of the excluded with a view to bringing them at par with others, i.e. ‘including’ them in the mainstream of life.

Social Inclusion approach thus is more about ‘redistribution of social opportunities’ among all sections of population so that everyone gets a plausible opportunity to flourish and thus, to contribute to the cause of enhancing efficiency of a society as a whole. A prosperous society provides more opportunities for personal fulfillment which is not to be viewed just in terms of economic freedom but also in terms of everything else that provides the necessary yardstick to evaluate the ‘quality of life’.

Social exclusion and rights based approach

A social exclusion perspective shares with a Rights-Based Approach (RBA) a common concern with equity, non-discrimination and the importance of participation that should be inclusive. In this respect, a social exclusion perspective is concerned with governance and citizenship rights, with the institutional dimension of exclusion and with the organizations, institutions and processes that exclude. The mainstreaming of human rights in development programming is a way of tackling certain forms of social exclusion and strengthening inclusion policies.

Social exclusion, poverty and vulnerability

Although the concept of poverty, social exclusion and vulnerability share certain common characteristics, they also have important distinguishing features. People who are not poor can be excluded, but many may also become poor due to exclusion from economic activity, and may thus become vulnerable. The analysis of exclusion and vulnerability may not necessarily be the same as that of poverty. The three phenomena, however, are inextricably related.

Traditional thinking about income poverty focuses on individual subsistence level as against a standard conventional change. The concept of human poverty, instead represents a measurement of well being as not a static but a dynamic multi-dimensional experience, and is closer to the concept of social exclusion. People may experience poverty not just because they lack access to goods and services but also because there are systematic constraints that limit the mobilisation and the allocation of resources to the particular group. The EU, for example, which has set social inclusion at the heart of policymaking, conceives of exclusion as distinct from income poverty. Poverty is a distributional outcome, whereas exclusion is a relational process of declining participation, solidarity and access. Indeed for some, exclusion is a broader term encompassing poverty; for others, it is a cause or a consequence of poverty. But it is likely that causation runs in both directions.

Highlights on vulnerability are essentially to reduce/manage the risk of the loss of livelihoods and the threat to security which more often than not is influenced by one’s poverty status. Vulnerability is often obviously worsened by poverty which, therefore, points to an important interface between poverty alleviation and social risk management.

Social exclusion as compared to poverty and vulnerability is intended to focus more attention on structural bottlenecks to equity and social justice. To overcome social exclusion, therefore, it is obvious that there has to be a deliberate effort to reform customary and legal codes of conduct to create opportunities for excluded groups to become empowered. This particular objective has been taken into account in current thinking on poverty reduction and social risks management.

An advantage of the concept of social exclusion/inclusion over an approach based on poverty and other material deprivation is its focus on processes, i.e. the dynamics of the interaction between an individual and his or her social, legal, political, cultural and economic environment. Asking whether a person is able to participate equally in mainstream society, leads to identifying barriers to participation. These barriers can be institutional (discrimination, lack of infrastructure or absence of services, or in the case of people with disabilities, can also be the physical accessibility of buildings or schools), in the community (prejudice, marginalization), or personal (lack of education, withdrawal, rejection, or fears). Different population groups may experience different and overlapping vulnerabilities or face different barriers, which require different strategies to overcome them.

Convergence of concepts towards a social inclusion approach

Human development, the Human Rights Based Approach and Social Inclusion proceed from a moral or philosophical belief in the intrinsic value of human life and a commitment to the dignity and equality of each human being. Another value added of both the social inclusion and human development approaches is that they look at groups/communities dynamics and interaction within society, beyond the rights-holders vs. duty bearers approach

Each of these conceptual frameworks places human well-being within a social and political context, and posits aspects of the interaction of the individual with society that cannot be represented by a money-metric proxy. Each also expresses – explicitly or implicitly — the vested interest of society in the provision of supportive social policies by a state actor in realization of the social contract.

A social inclusion approach implies addressing need or alienation wherever it exists. Social inclusion reaches beyond the enforcement of rights in legal terms by tackling material deprivation, stigmatization and social separation; hence the approach seeks to understand this complex social phenomenon in terms of causes as well as outcomes. It also has an operational bias, devising workable policy responses, effectively recognizing that the state has a duty to care, include and involve all members of society in political, economic, cultural and social processes.

3) Causes and Drivers of Social Exclusion

People may be excluded by several reasons, some owing to their individual characteristics (old, sick, disabled, poor, immigrants, vulnerable women and children); others from their societal/cultural characteristics (such as religion, race, caste/ethnicity, language). These can often interact and influence each other, thus creating a spiral of multiple deprivations. Exclusion can also be triggered by circumstances of birth. Being born into poverty or to parents with low employable skills, for example, places one at a serious disadvantage in relation to future life course survival chances. Finally, social exclusion can also be an outcome of shocks, such as conflicts and abrupt socio-economic transitions.

The process dimension of social exclusion is also multi-dimensional and often involves economic, political, cultural and social exclusion. These dimensions are interrelated and reinforce each other. For example, the most excluded groups often have the worse access to education, poorer land, worse sanitation and health services, which contributes to lower productivity and incomes on the one hand, as well as limitation on engagement in political processes that could improve their position.

For this Report, we have chosen to focus on mutually related dimensions:

  • Exclusion from economic life results in and from inequalities in ownership of assets, incomes and employment opportunities.
  • Exclusion from social services results in and from inequalities in access to a range of services – education, health, housing, social protection, etc – and in human outcomes (including education, health, and nutrition).
  • Exclusion from political participation results in and from unequal access to political opportunities, justice, freedoms, institutions and power at many levels (from national to community level).
  • Cultural status exclusion results in and from differences in recognition and (de facto) hierarchical status of different groups’ cultural norms, customs and practices.

Thus, the causes or drivers of exclusion include not only the ascribed characteristics of individuals and groups, but the way that institutions and processes contribute to marginalization.

For the purposes of this report, we can cluster the potential causes and drivers, many of which prevail in the ECIS region, in three broad categories: discrimination, institutional inadequacies and horizontal inequalities:

NOTE TO ALL: I WILL ADD CONCRETE EXAMPLES FROM THE REGION LATER FROM THE CHAPTERS

1) Discrimination:

Ø Discriminatory practices, especially as a result of bias

Social exclusion mostly results from direct or indirect discrimination that rules and behavior, processes, policy, regulations, and institutional practices can impose, advertently or inadvertently against one or some groups of population compared to the others. These can be based on but not limited to gender, ethnicity, religion, race, geographical location, age, income status, health, educational attainment, and disability.

Prejudice and discrimination resulting from social and political biases may also cause social exclusion. For example, discrimination on the basis of ethnicity and gender may result in exclusion on the labour market, etc. In extreme cases, outright hostility and violence against certain groups may lead to social exclusion

Ø Discriminatory social values and cultural practices

Social exclusion can also persist in the cultural and traditional set-up and result from social traditions and values among different social groups of population. EXAMPLE FROM TATJANA CHAPTER

2) Institutional inadequacies :

Ø Policies and institutional barriers

Public institutions or organizations can aggravate social exclusion through lack of understanding of the dynamics of exclusion, or through sheer oversight. Decision making may not be effective in protecting excluded groups largely due to the lack of commitment and inadequate resources.

Ø Inadequate or weak institutional support mechanisms

The weakness of institutions is exhibited in their inadequacies, poor functioning, poor quality, non responsiveness and the inability to create opportunities for those who are likely to fall prey to social exclusion. Sometimes institutions are purposely designed to favour those who are already included in the mainstream (e.g. language requirements to access education, job opportunities or other services). Private institutions and civil society organisations such as non-government institutions and community based organizations, as well as some private financial institutions and other service providers also contribute to social exclusion by failing to develop programmes to support the interests of excluded groups or by deliberately excluding some from social services.

Ø Discriminatory laws or inadequate enforcement

Poor legislation may deepen the exclusion of some social groups.. In some circumstances, adequate legislation may be in place to protect the interests of the underprivileged, but poorly enforced legal regimes can make such legislation meaningless.

3) Horizontal inequalities:

Ø Inequalities between groups

Inequalities that exist de facto or de jure among groups can increase exclusion. These can include, for example, inequalities in terms of

 



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