Disadvantage

Paperback | February 21, 2013

byJonathan Wolff, Avner De-shalit

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What does it mean to be disadvantaged? Is it possible to compare different disadvantages? What should governments do to move their societies in the direction of equality, where equality is to be understood both in distributional and social terms? Linking rigorous analytical philosophicaltheory with broad empirical studies, including interviews conducted for the purpose of this book, Wolff and de-Shalit show how taking theory and practice together is essential if the theory is to be rich enough to be applied to the real world, and policy systematic enough to have purpose andjustification.The book is in three parts. Part 1 presents a pluralist analysis of disadvantage, modifying the capability theory of Sen and Nussbaum to produce the 'genuine opportunity for secure functioning' view. This emphasises risk and insecurity as a central component of disadvantage. Part 2 shows how toidentify the least advantaged in society even on a pluralist view. The authors suggest that disadvantage 'clusters' in the sense that some people are disadvantaged in several different respects. Thus identifying the least advantaged is not as problematic as it appears to be. Conversely, a societywhich has 'declustered disadvantaged' - in the sense that no group lacks secure functioning on a range of functionings - has made considerable progress in the direction of equality. Part 3 explores how to decluster disadvantage, by paying special attention to 'corrosive disadvantages' - thosedisadvantages which cause further disadvantages - and 'fertile functionings' - those which are likely to secure other functionings.In sum this book presents a refreshing new analysis of disadvantage, and puts forward proposals to help governments improve the lives of the least advantaged in their societies, thereby moving in the direction of equality.Oxford Political Theory presents the best new work in contemporary political theory. It is intended to be broad in scope, including original contributions to political philosophy, and also work in applied political theory. The series will contain works of outstanding quality with no restriction asto approach or subject matter. Series Editors: Will Kymlicka, David Miller, and Alan Ryan.

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What does it mean to be disadvantaged? Is it possible to compare different disadvantages? What should governments do to move their societies in the direction of equality, where equality is to be understood both in distributional and social terms? Linking rigorous analytical philosophicaltheory with broad empirical studies, including in...

Jonathan Wolff is the author of Robert Nozick (1991), An Introduction to Political Philosophy (1996), and Why Read Marx Today (2002) and, editor, with Michael Rosen, of Political Thought (1999) and with Martin Stone The Proper Ambition of Science, as well as papers on many topics within contemporary political philosophy. He works as a...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:248 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.68 inPublished:February 21, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199655588

ISBN - 13:9780199655588

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Table of Contents

Part 1: The secure functionings approach1. The pluralism of disadvantage2. Functionings3. Risk4. Opportunity and responsibilityPart 2: Applying theory to practice5. The indexing problem6. Measuring functionings7. Clustering of disadvantage and empirical researchPart 3: Public policy8. Declustering disadvantage9. Priority to the least advantaged10. Addressing disadvantage while respecting peopleAppendix 1: Details of the interviewsIndex

Editorial Reviews

Review from previous edition: "A book for those who ask what we should do about the gross injustices that face us here and now" --Times Literary Supplement