Journal Article


Social Protection for Social Justice

Published on 3 October 2011

The articles in this IDS Bulletin are drawn from a conference hosted by the Centre for Social Protection at IDS in April 2011. They elaborate the linkages between social protection and social justice, to identify opportunities for operationalising the ‘transformative’ aspects of social protection and to strengthen the case for integrating social protection into broader social policy. Social protection is not only about installing safety nets and alleviating poverty, it also has profound implications for social relations and for local, national and global governance.

The articles in this collection address the perception that insufficient attention has been paid to the politics of social protection, to addressing not just poverty and shocks but structural vulnerabilities and socioeconomic inequalities, and to social protection’s relationship with social justice outcomes. ‘Social protection plus’ is needed to upgrade projects and programmes from discretionary social assistance to claims-based entitlements.

This ‘social protection for social justice’ agenda demands an explicitly political approach, driven both from the top and by civil society activism from below. Social protection has been the development success story of the past decade. Not only are social protection programmes extending their coverage across the world, they are increasingly becoming claims-based and justiciable, empowering individuals and communities, and building social contracts between states and citizens. It is important going forward to protect the gains made and ensure that they become permanent and irreversible entitlements. This is a vital next step towards ensuring that social protection becomes an effective instrument for achieving social justice for all.

Buy this Bulletin

View abstracts and subscribe

Introduction: Social Protection for Social Justice Stephen Devereux, J. Allister McGregor and Rachel Sabates-Wheeler


Democratic Governance for Social Justice: The Politics of Social Protection Deepta Chopra and Dolf te Lintelo

One Step Beyond: From Social Protection Recipients to Citizens Savina Tessitore

Social Protection in Zambia – Whose Politics? Esther Schüring and Julie Lawson-McDowall

Collaborative Governance: Analysing Social Audits in MGNREGA in India Nidhi Vij


Social Protection to Address the Drivers of Vulnerability: A Bridge too Far? Keetie Roelen

Reflections on Including Disability in Social Protection Programmes Marguerite Schneider, Wamundila Waliuya, Joseph Musanje and Leslie Swartz

Why is Social Protection Gender-blind? The Politics of Gender and Social Protection Nicola Jones and Rebecca Holmes

Dignity and Stigma among South African Female Cash Transfer Recipients Tessa Hochfeld and Sophie Plagerson

Richer but Resented: What do Cash Transfers do to Social Relations? Ian MacAuslan and Nils Riemenschneider


Social Protection and Climate Change Christophe Béné

Adaptive Social Protection in Rwanda:‘Climate-proofing’ the Vision 2020 Umurenge Programme Paul B. Siegel, Justine Gatsinzi and Andrew Kettlewell

Is there a Role for Cash Transfers in Climate Change Adaptation? Rachel Godfrey Wood


(Re)distribution and Growth: What is the Role of Social Protection? Rachel Sabates-Wheeler and Gabriele Koehler

Addressing Inequality: Framing Social Protection in National Development Strategies Kate Carroll

Transformative Social Protection: Reflections on South Asian Policy Experiences Gabriele Koehler

Political and Civil Society in India’s Welfare Trajectory Ellen Ehmke

Social Protection, the Millennium Development Goals and Human Rights Wouter van Ginneken


Stephen Devereux

Research Fellow

Deepta Chopra

Professorial Research Fellow

Keetie Roelen

IDS Honorary Associate

Dolf J.H. te Lintelo

Research Fellow and Cities Cluster Leader

Rachel Sabates-Wheeler

Research Fellow

Gabriele Köhler

Honorary Associate

Publication details

published by
Devereux, S., Béné, C., Chopra, D., Koehler, G., Roelen, K., Sabates-Wheeler, R. and te Lintelo, D.
Devereux, S., Béné, C., Chopra, D., Koehler, G., Roelen, K., Sabates-Wheeler, R. and te Lintelo, D.
IDS Bulletin, volume 42, issue 6


About this publication

Programmes and centres
Centre for Social Protection

Related content