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PART VI Inequalities

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67 4 Inequality A major part of the discussion of the relational aspects of poverty has been the discussion of inequalities, and there have been several points in the argument so far which have referred to inequality rather than poverty. Inequality refers to social disadvantage.1 Most of us have some things about us that distinguish us from other people – age, gender or ethnicity are examples – but difference alone does not imply that people are unequal. Disadvantage might reflect difference, but it implies much more: it implies that rights, opportunities

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43 CHAPTeR 3 inequalities The structure of inequality inequality of resources redistribution The structure of inequality Inequality refers not to the fact that people are different, but that people are advantaged or disadvantaged in social terms.104 The most important patterns of this advantage and disadvantage concern class, status, and power; they are manifested in inequalities in economic capacity, race or ethnicity, and gender. Class The idea of ‘class’ is commonly understood in three ways. In Marx’s thought, class is defined by people’s relationship

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117 FIVE Intersecting inequalities Early childhood education and care (ECEC) policies universally have expanded and transformed over the past few decades. The funding objectives for public and private investment in ECEC services have shifted in various ways, often with intentions to achieve specific outcomes for different groups of the population. Broadly speaking, ECEC services have been designed for children and for parents (that is, mothers). As outlined in Chapter Two, spending on childcare before the 1960s was largely viewed as a philanthropic

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95 Inequalities Section 2: Inequalities Health policy is a devolved responsibility, and in 2001 the Scottish Executive initiated a set of reforms relating to the structure of the NHS and the way in which health services are delivered. Central to this policy, and in contrast to health policy in England and Wales, is an increased emphasis on the prevention of poor health rather than the treatment of ill health. Anne Ludbrook, Ioannis Theodossiou and Vania Gerova (Chapter Seven) examine present inequalities in health. Not only do they provide a Scottish

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SECTIoN V Global inequality

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107 Section 2 Ethnic inequalities

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Where are we now and what can be done?

The growing divide between the poor and the rich is the most significant social change to have occurred during the last few decades. The new Labour government inherited a country more unequal than at any other time since the Second World War.

This book brings together a collection of contributions on inequalities in the main areas of British life: income, wealth, standard of living, employment, education, housing, crime and health.

It charts the extent of the growth in inequalities and offers a coherent critique of the new Labour government’s policies aimed at those tackling this crisis. In particular, the numerous area-based anti-poverty policies currently being pursued are unlikely to have a significant and long-lasting effect, since many lessons from the past have been ignored. The contributors use and interpret official data to show how statistics are often misused to obscure or distort the reality of inequality.

A range of alternative policies for reducing inequalities in Britain are discussed and set within the global context of the need for international action.

Tackling inequalities is a valuable contribution to the emerging policy debate written by the leading researchers in the field. It is essential reading for academics, policy makers, and students with an interest in inequalities, poverty and social exclusion.

Studies in poverty, inequality and social exclusion series

Series Editor: David Gordon, Director, Townsend Centre for International Poverty Research.

Poverty, inequality and social exclusion remain the most fundamental problems that humanity faces in the 21st century. This exciting series, published in association with the Townsend Centre for International Poverty Research at the University of Bristol, aims to make cutting-edge poverty related research more widely available.

For other titles in this series, please follow the series link from the main catalogue page.

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245 ELEVEN Socioeconomic inequalities John Hills and Kitty Stewart The chapters in the first part of this book each concentrated on a different area of social policy. They examined policy, spending and outcomes since the crash in relation to a particular pillar of the welfare state (cash transfers, education, health, housing, employment), or to a given demographic group (young children). In this chapter we consider overall trends in socioeconomic differentials, including both economic inequality and the distribution of benefits in kind. These differentials

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193 9 Social inequality DEFINITION The unequal distribution of resources like income, wealth, prestige and power is termed social inequality. These unequally distributed resources yield further advantages or disadvantages and accrue to individuals as a result of their position in the social structure and in social networks. Thus, when one speaks of social inequality, one speaks of societally anchored forms of privileging some over others. Across modern societies, social inequality exists to different degrees and in myriad forms. It is institutionalised in

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