Beyond Social Inclusion through Employment: Harnessing Mutual Aid as a Complementary Social Inclusion Policy
Policy and Politics, Vol.29, No. 1, pp.15-28 (2001)
13 Pages Posted: 7 Jul 2013
Date Written: 2001
This paper argues that the reliance of New Labour on a ‘social inclusion through employment’ approach, especially in lower-income areas, is problematic. This is due to the significant gap between actual employment rates and a full-employment scenario in such areas, its uni-dimensional view that equates social inclusion with having a job and its failure to recognise and value forms of work beyond employment. Here, therefore, we evaluate whether and how one form of work beyond employment, namely mutual aid, could be harnessed as an additional tool for activating social inclusion. Through 400 interviews in UK lower-income urban neighbourhoods, we find little evidence that mutual aid is widely used. Instead, people prefer to receive some form of payment. Based on this recognition, the paper develops a proposal for an Active Citizens Credits scheme to activate mutual aid and in so doing, provide a complementary social inclusion policy.
Keywords: active citizenship, social inclusion, big society, social exclusion, mutual aid, community self-help, volunteering, England
JEL Classification: O17, H26, H31, R20
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation