Social Exclusion and Social Work


The concept of social exclusion was introduced by Lenoir in 1989. It is a vague term which is directly linked to poverty, social deprivation, inequality and marginalized life.


As a first definition it is what can happen when individuals or groups of individuals face a combination of problems such as: unemployment, low skills, low incomes, degraded residence, conditions/environments of high crime rate, bad health and family breakdown.


The activities which somebody is excluded from are consumption, savings, production, political activation and social action. The causes which may lead a person to such a condition are:

1. Redistribution of income, in other words poverty. The exclusion is a result of poverty where the basic indicator is the law income and the main way of reducing it is the increase of benefits.

2. Paid work as the main means through which the productive individuals integrate in society. The excluded ones are those who are not employed or those in danger of finding themselves out of work very soon. In this case the main indicator is unemployment.

3. Finally the approach of lower social strata where the excluded deviate from moral and cultural norms of society and are characterized by “a culture of poverty” or “addiction” and are responsible for the state of the poverty they are in, as well as its transmission from generation to generation.


Such groups of people who live among us and are displaced in society, some more and some others less, are the elderly and the homeless who we go past every day in the streets, and who have reached this point due to poverty, economic crisis, abuse of different substances or a mental illness. Also, in this category we have the children who are in danger, that is the children who have suffered domestic violence, who are neglected by their parents or those who are drug addicts, women who have suffered domestic violence and men and women with addiction problems.


Elina Tsiaka



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