Transforming Social Protection: Human Wellbeing and Social Justice

Organization(s): IDS
Author: J. Allister McGregor, Stephen Devereux
Year: 2014
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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.


Related Key Issues

Universality of protection and effective access

Social protection programmes must be available to all individuals without discrimination of any kind. Universal social protection systems  – those which provide benefits to all residents without conditions – are the best way for States to meet their human rights obligations to ensure that there is no discrimination in the selection of beneficiaries.  Further reading: […]

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Universality of Protection

States parties to major human rights instruments related to economic, social and cultural rights such as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) have an immediate minimum core obligation to ensure the satisfaction of, at the very least, minimum essential levels of all economic, social and cultural rights such as the right […]

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Social Protection and Human Rights