A Theory of Poverty and Social Exclusion

A Theory of Poverty and Social Exclusion

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The deterioration in the living standards of the worst-off members of all kinds of societies has coincided with the resurgence of free-market utopianism as a political creed. Yet there is as yet no convincing theory to link these two phenomena. Bill Jordan seeks to fill this gap in social scientific theory by explaining poverty and social exclusion in terms of collective action in exclusive groups. The book draws on public choice theory for its analysis of collective action of all kinds, from households and clubs to communities and polities, and shows how the strategies of individuals and groups affect collective outcomes. Although the methods are primarily derived from this economic perspective, historical and comparative dimensions are extensively reviewed, with special reference to the feminization of poverty, and the racialization of social exclusion. Bill Jordan draws on his wide knowledge of comparative social policy to criticize currently fashionable theories of community and social citizenship. He argues that economic globalization and the actions of comfortable majorities in all the First World countries have increased the vulnerability of the poor, who in turn have taken strategic resistance action that drives up social costs. His theory includes an analysis of the threat to democracy posed by growing antagonisms between exclusive groups. A Theory of Poverty and Social Exclusion is a pathbreaking book which will be of marked interest to academics and students in sociology, social policy, politics and economics.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 288 pages
  • 152 x 229mm | 526g
  • Polity Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0
  • 0745616933
  • 9780745616933

Table of contents

1. Introduction: The Great Exclusion? 2. Interdependency and Collective Action. 3. Missing Links. 4. Globalization and the Fragmentation of Welfare States. 5. Community, Polarization and Social Exclusion. 6. The Politics of Enforcement. 7. Conclusions: States and Social Policy. Bibliography and Sources. Index.show more

Review quote

"With the burgeoning of research and debates on social exclusion, Bill Jordan's book provides a much-needed theory of poverty and social exclusion based not on the relativity of deprivation but on the social and economic relations of power in contemporary industrialized welfare societies." Fiona Williams, University of Leeds "In this book Bill Jordan draws on a rich mix of sources, including public choice theory and his own work on the strategies of excluded households, to shake up tired theories of poverty and to throw light on the future of social policy in the US and Britain (with glances towards Eastern Europe). It is an exhilarating book: learned but impatient, pessimistic but inspiring. An honest attempt to make sense of the turmoil that is social policy today." Ian Gough, University of Bath "This is an important book which makes a valuable contribution to the theoretical debate about poverty and social exclusion. One of the main strengths of this work is its interdisciplinary focus ... this book is a valuable addition to the study of poverty and it is likely to stimulate much debate." British Journal of Sociology "This is an ambitious book which attempts to chart an entirely new course for studies of poverty and social exclusion. There is much to admire in this book. It takes a fresh and illuminating approach which enables a number of important points to be made about the choices facing both individuals and society as a whole. The global and European perspective adds depth to the argument and is also interesting in its own right. I would certainly recommend the book to anyone interested in moving beyond the rather tired circles of debates about poverty and/or social exclusion." Critical Social Policy "The theory is ... original and stimulating and appears to be substantially different from previous theories ... This is a highly stimulating book which often provokes and irritates but never bores the reader." Journal of European Social Policyshow more

About Bill Jordan

Bill Jordan is Professor of Social Policy at Huddersfield University and Reader in Social Policy at London Metropolitan University.show more