Transforming Social Protection: Human Wellbeing and Social Justice


This article calls for a moment of pause to consider the current direction of social protection thinking and practice. It introduces a special issue in which a range of authors explore the relationship between social protection and social justice. The article argues that the currently technocratic approach to social protection will neither be sustainable as a form of development intervention, nor produce sustainable reductions in poverty. The analysis takes us to the ontological heart of the technocratic approach and highlights the inadequacy of approaches based on methodological individualism for achieving sustainable and more socially just development outcomes. Using a human wellbeing framework and combining this with the idea of transformative social protection, the article proposes that there are different ways of conceiving, designing and implementing social protection so that they are better able to contribute to the promotion of social justice in specific developing country contexts.

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Devereux, S., McGregor, J. Transforming Social Protection: Human Wellbeing and Social Justice. Eur J Dev Res 26, 296–310 (2014).

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  • social protection
  • poverty
  • wellbeing
  • social justice