the definition being used focuses not only on processes of exclusion which are the effect of market and cultural forces, but also on those which are the direct result of penal law and political responses to lawbreakers, migrants, asylum seekers and others seen to pose a social or political threat.
As far as crime and punishment is concerned, the histories of the concepts of social exclusion, risk and cost, have been slightly different. In relation to exclusionary punishments, such as gossip, shaming, financial punishment and imprisonment, the emphasis has been on social exclusion as a deliberate but spontaneous response to lawbreaking ); social exclusion of deviants as a necessary condition of social solidarity; and alternate exclusion and inclusion as a clever disciplinary mechanism for governing the soul (Durkheim1893/1964 and 1895/1968)
As an eminent German historian has observed, from the fifteenth century onwards to the present day, there has also been anxiety about the risks incurred by the many (Jutte 1994) as a result of the social exclusion of the few, as well as concern about the costs to taxpayers of inclusive measures. Thus, writing about poverty and crime in early modern Europe, Jutte reminds us that:
for early modern governments and magistrates, the poor were mainly a problem of public order, and only to a lesser extent public relief. (Jutte 1994: 194-5); while as recently as 2002 the Social Exclusion Unit in England has justified the call for greater reintegration of ex-prisoners primarily in terms of the heavy social costs to be incurred if they re-offend – rather than in terms of any moral obligations of the state towards all its citizens. Furthermore, the rightwing American theorist Charles Murray (1994) has used the concept of underclass to argue that insofar as welfare payments have encouraged unemployed people to self-exclude from work and family responsibilities, the welfare state is partly to blame for the rising numbers who have lately been defined as socially excluded.
It can be seen from the above brief history of the concept of social exclusion that present- day definitions of ‘social exclusion’ have a long and complex history and a varied nomenclature. In that history, both the causes of, and remedies for, social exclusion are contested. Yet the position taken as to the causes of social exclusion inevitably help fashion the remedies to be recommended. Nor can it be assumed that social exclusion is always defined by social theorists as regrettable, remediable or an unintended consequence of other, more benign social forces; though this is how it is often presented by modern governments, an example being seen in the definition of the EC Report quoted below, which refers to social exclusion ‘by default’. Yet Durkheim saw social exclusion as deliberate, desirable and necessary; Marx saw it as an inevitable component of capitalism; while, as far as penal law is concerned, it is merely stating the obvious to say that penal law in imprisoning lawbreakers necessarily excludes them from at least some of the rights of citizenship, while research in many countries indicates that imprisonment is a punishment which is visited disproportionately upon the already- excluded . Nor, it seems, would many in the populations of most societies have it otherwise: built into most penal and welfare systems (either legally and explicitly, or illegally and implicitly) is a notion that people should not be better off because they have committed a crime. In the UK this is called the principle of ‘less eligibility’ and both at popular, agency and institutional level, it can be one of the greatest (though often unstated) barriers to implementation of measures to decrease social exclusion.