Social Inclusion of Older People in Developing Countries: Relations and Resources

Peter Lloyd-Sherlock, Armando Barrientos, Julia Mase

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

7 Citations (Scopus)


Development studies offers a specific set of perspectives on poverty, deprivation and welfare, which take particular account of conditions of generalised scarcity, limited access to salaried labour and weak formal sector institutions (Gough and Wood, 2004). While a great deal of the literature about development focuses on resources and resource deficits, the relational dimensions of development and underdevelopment are increasingly under the spotlight. New theoretical frameworks, such as Amartya Sen's (1999) work on capabilities, functionings and entitlements, discussed in more detail in Chapter Five, have found fertile ways of combining attention on resources and relations. These, more comprehensive, approaches demonstrate that poverty and deprivation cannot be reduced to deficits in material resources alone, but must also take account of other dimensions of social exclusion. While these approaches have generated some valuable insights, they have rarely been applied specifically to older people (Lloyd-Sherlock, 2002). This chapter aims to contribute to this emerging literature by examining the role of material resources and social relations in shaping the social inclusion and exclusion of older people in Latin America and South Africa.

The multifaceted nature of poverty and exclusion, and the diverse range of social and economic conditions in developing countries, suggest the need to set the boundaries of this chapter's discussion with care. Our focus is on two dimensions of social exclusion that affect people in later life: access to financial security and pensions; and older people's perceptions of inclusion and the quality of their social relationships. While the former provides insights into the material resources domain of social exclusion, the latter highlights relational dimensions of the exclusion construct (Scharf et al, 2005).

In exploring issues relating to perceived social relations and financial security in two middle-income countries, Brazil and South Africa, we are able to take advantage of a unique data set. Our analysis draws on a survey of around 1000 households with older people in Brazil and South Africa, conducted in 2008/09 as part of a research project on ‘Ageing, well-being and development’. In addition to the survey, a qualitative component involved in-depth interviews with people living in households that were also part of the household survey. The project’s main aim has been to explore the well-being of older people and their households in the two countries.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFrom Exclusion to Inclusion in Old Age
EditorsThomas Scharf, Norah C. Keating
Place of PublicationBristol
PublisherPolicy Press
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic) 9781447307419
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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