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social exclusion (and social inclusion) a form of social disadvantage encompassing economic and non-economic factors. The conception and existence of'social exclusion’ was debated in France in the 1980s and combating it has become part of the European agenda. Excluded individuals and groups are separated from institutions and wider society, and consequently from both rights and duties – e.g. the political, educational and civic (see also CITIZENSHIP). Social policy solutions aimed at achieving social inclusion focus on developing and enhancing SOCIAL CAPITAL and CULTURAL CAPITAL by making available improved education and training, healthcare and housing. For A. GIDDENS (The Third Way, 1998) social exclusion is a dual process operating at the top and bottom of society. While at the latter level it is usually involuntary, those higher up the socio-economic hierarchy may actively exclude themselves – for example by choosing private education, healthcare and so forth. This undermines the credibility -and eventually adequacy – of public sector provision, contributing further to social exclusion.