Equality versus social inclusion?

Chris Armstrong

in Rethinking Equality

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print June 2006 | ISBN: 9780719069246
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781701287 | DOI:
Equality versus social inclusion?

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This chapter draws a brief comparison between the liberal emphasis on equality of opportunity and New Labour's rhetoric on social inclusion, to show how both have normalised neoliberal concerns. Specifically, both liberal equality of opportunity and the third way ideal of social inclusion foreground the importance of labour market participation as a cure for a range of social ills. Equality itself, rather than being seen as a precondition of democratic citizenship, is increasingly repackaged in terms of a right of inclusion to the labour market. Considerations of economic opportunity strongly inform political rhetoric not only on class, but also on the equality of women, ethnic minorities, and the disabled. Whilst the value of choice within both neoliberalism and liberal luck egalitarianism has largely functioned as a category of economic life, this chapter draws on feminist and socialist arguments to re-emphasise an opposing conception of active citizenship that focuses on democratic participation in collective decision-making.

Keywords: equality; opportunity; New Labour; social inclusion; labour market; choice; active citizenship; collective decision-making; neoliberalism; luck egalitarianism

Chapter.  7938 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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