Since the election to power of New Labour in 1997, the concept of 'social exclusion' has played a defining role in framing welfare policy. The rapid absorption of its terminology in government discourse has signalled a shift away from existing notions of inequality and disadvantage to a broader understanding of material poverty, which also includes (or instead prioritises) other social, cultural and political factors. This has important implications for New Labour policy-making. In particular, it allows for problems of inequality and disadvantage to be reinterpreted and new political measures to be introduced. Such measures produce different effects across space and society, which may be argued to disadvantage policy subjects. The aim of this paper is to explore how social exclusion has become installed as the primary framework of welfare policy in the UK and examine the key assumptions embedded within specific policy formulations using discourse and content analysis. It thus points towards the importance of language in stipulating relatively enduring and stable sets of socio-political connections, and its role in mediating a particular (political) vision of the relationship(s) between state, economy and society as implicit in New Labour's 'Third Way'.
|Translated title of the contribution||The Language of Politics and the Politics of Language: Unpacking 'Social Exclusion' in New Labour Policy|
|Pages (from-to)||87 - 98|
|Number of pages||12|
|Journal||Space and Polity|
|Publication status||Published - Apr 2006|