chapter  2
10 Pages

1 The other side of social exclusion: interrogating the role of the privileged in reproducing inequality


As the chapters in this book demonstrate, social exclusion is a key concept used to understand various forms of inequality in contemporary capitalist societies. I argue in this chapter that while the concept of social exclusion has been important in illustrating the structural dimensions of unequal social relations and examining the costs of those relations for excluded groups, it has done little to address those of us who benefit most from existing social divisions and inequalities. Nor do most of the writings on social exclusion examine how these inequalities are reproduced by and through the daily practices and life-style pursuits of privileged groups. In this chapter I will interrogate the concept of privilege as the other side of

social exclusion and will argue that the lack of critical interrogation of the position of the privileged side of social divisions allows the privileged to reinforce their dominance. I aim to make privilege more visible and consider the extent to which those who are privileged can overcome their own self interest in the maintenance of dominance to enable them to challenge it.