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Jonathan Wolff and Avner de-Shalit

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199278268

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199278268.001.0001

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Addressing Disadvantage While Respecting People

Addressing Disadvantage While Respecting People

(p.167) Chapter 10 Addressing Disadvantage While Respecting People

Jonathan Wolff (Contributor Webpage)

Avner De-Shalit

Oxford University Press

Social policies designed to help people by securing a particular functioning might harm them by risking other functionings. One example is housing, where policies of slum clearance and rehousing, while improving people's housing conditions, disrupt their communities and social networks, often leading to severe problems in affiliation, mental health, and the ability to cope. Another example concerns means tested benefits, which while well-intentioned can be experienced as humiliating and stigmatizing, thereby risking a sense of autonomy and self esteem. This chapter argues that policy makers need to consider the total effects of their interventions, rather than simply concerning themselves with only their own policy areas. Remedies of ‘status enhancement’ are recommended, which improve an individual's genuine opportunities for secure functionings by changing the world around them, rather than identifying particular individuals as objects in need of help.

Keywords:   humiliation, remedies, slum clearance, social networks, status enhancement, stigma

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