Understanding social exclusion and sport for children: Mike Collins
Introduction: the concepts of social exclusion and child poverty Social exclusion is a term that only entered the policy vocabulary in the mid1970s, but was soon adopted by the European Commission and then many governments, most notably of the UK. Poverty is said to be a state, but exclusion is a process. EU researcher Commins (1993) described poverty as lack of access to four basic social systems: democracy, welfare, the labour market, and family and community. People do move in and out of poverty (see below), but I see poverty as the core of exclusion (fi rst in Collins et .al, 1999; then in Collins, 2003). Poor people lack money and material resources – most have low self-confi dence and lack power, they often have poor health, live in high-crime, low-cohesion environments with high unemployment and have poor transport, leisure and other facilities. All these factors are described in the UK government’s seminal policy paper Bringing Britain Together (Social Exclusion Unit, 1998). Other factors have exclusionary potential in their own right, but really bite when they are combined with poverty. These are explored by other authors in this book.