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Andries Du Toit (2004) argues that the concept of social exclusion has limited use in the field of development studies, since chronic poverty is often the result of incorporation on particularly disadvantageous terms (‘adverse incorporation’) rather than any process of exclusion. Du Toit therefore advocates going beyond thinking about ‘exclusion’ and ‘inclusion’ in binary terms and looking more closely at how different kinds of power are formed and maintained. This article argues that thinking about social exclusion has already moved beyond a simple ‘included/excluded’ dichotomy, and that use of Sen’s analytical framework assists researchers to tease out the complex, interconnected factors underlying chronic poverty, such as that experienced by agricultural workers in South Africa’s Western Cape district of Ceres.

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