Social exclusion is a phenomenon that has been studied widely in sociology and political science. It refers to the practice of excluding individuals or groups from full participation in society, whether it be in terms of economic, social, or political opportunities.

The social exclusion theory seeks to understand the roots and consequences of this phenomenon. In this article, we will explore who made the social exclusion theory.

The Origin of Social Exclusion Theory

The concept of social exclusion has its roots in French social policy during the 1970s. The term “exclusion sociale” was first used in a report by René Lenoir, a French sociologist and politician, who was appointed as Minister for Social Affairs by President François Mitterrand in 1981.

René Lenoir’s Contribution to Social Exclusion Theory

Lenoir’s report highlighted the increasing marginalization of certain groups from French society. He argued that traditional welfare policies were not effective in addressing the needs of these marginalized individuals and that a new approach was needed. This new approach would focus on empowering people rather than simply giving them support.

Lenoir’s report was influential in shaping French social policy during the 1980s and 1990s. It led to the creation of programs aimed at reducing social exclusion, such as the RMI (Revenu Minimum d’Insertion), which provided financial support for people on low incomes.

The Development of Social Exclusion Theory

The concept of social exclusion gained traction beyond France during the 1990s. Sociologists such as Robert Castel and Loïc Wacquant expanded upon Lenoir’s ideas to develop a more comprehensive theory of social exclusion.

Castel argued that social exclusion was not just about economic marginalization but also about “symbolic domination”. This referred to the ways in which certain groups were excluded from cultural norms and values, leading to their stigmatization and marginalization.

Wacquant, on the other hand, emphasized the role of neoliberal economic policies in exacerbating social exclusion. He argued that policies such as privatization and deregulation led to a weakening of the social safety net, making it harder for marginalized individuals to access services and support.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the social exclusion theory was first developed in France by René Lenoir in the 1970s. His report on social exclusion highlighted the increasing marginalization of certain groups from French society and called for a new approach to social policy. This approach focused on empowering people rather than simply giving them support.

The concept of social exclusion gained traction beyond France during the 1990s. Castel emphasized the role of symbolic domination in social exclusion, while Wacquant focused on neoliberal economic policies as exacerbating factors.

Overall, the social exclusion theory has been instrumental in understanding and addressing marginalization and inequality in society.