1st Edition

Human Development and the Catholic Social Tradition
Towards an Integral Ecology

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after May 21, 2021
ISBN 9780367639617
May 21, 2021 Forthcoming by Routledge
136 Pages

USD $59.95

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Book Description

This book brings development theory and practice into dialogue with the religious tradition, in order to construct a new, trans-disciplinary vision of development, with integral ecology at its heart.

It focuses on the Catholic social tradition and its conception of integral human development on the one hand, and on the works of economist and philosopher Amartya Sen which underpin the human development approach on the other. The book discusses how these two perspectives can mutually enrich other around three areas: their views on the concept and meaning of development and progress; their understanding of what it is to be human, that is, their anthropological vision; and their analysis of transformational pathways for addressing social and environmental degradation. The book examines how both human development and the Catholic social tradition can function as complementary analytical lenses and mobilizing frames for embarking on the journey of structural and personal transformation to bring all life systems, human and non-human, back into balance.

This book is written for researchers and students in development studies, theology, and religious studies, as well as professional audiences in development organisations.

Table of Contents



1. The Concept of Development

Sen’s Capability Approach to Development

Integral Human Development

Concluding Remarks

2. Anthropological Visions

The Anthropological Vision of Sen’s Concept of Development

The Anthropological Vision of the Catholic Social Tradition

Concluding remarks

3. Transformational Pathways

Transformational Pathways in Sen’s Conception of Development

Transformational Pathways in the Catholic Social Tradition

Concluding Remarks


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Séverine Deneulin is Director of International Development at the Laudato Si’ Research Institute, Campion Hall, University of Oxford, UK; and Associate Professor in International Development at the University of Bath, UK.


"This is a hugely valuable text that looks at a real opportunity to take development thinking and action forward through a dialogue between human development and the Catholic social tradition. Whilst it is written in a style that is very informative and suitable as an introductory text, it is conceptually rich and opens up important questions. Deneulin reminds us that there are no simple blueprints for the future, and shows how the two approaches encourage us to react to a complex, uncertain world thoughtfully. From a development studies perspective, the Catholic angle offers new avenues for thought regarding the place of solidarity and love in our schema, and provides new dimensions for our consideration of how public reasoning is supposed to bring about transformative change." -- Simon McGrath, UNESCO Chair in International Education and Development; and Professor, School of Education, University of Nottingham, UK

"This book brilliantly transposes the thinking of Nobel-prize winning economist, Amartya Sen, with the theology of the Catholic Church on objectives of development, conditions needed for human flourishing, and the place of human beings in the natural world. It suggests many areas of broad agreement, and areas where one could learn from the other, with insightful indications of weaknesses in each approach. Catholic emphasis on seeing the world as integral, with people integrally connected to nature, the economy, and society, is contrasted with the individualism of Sen’s writings; while Sen’s emphasis on gender equality is contrasted with the marginalization of women in Catholic writings. Both secular students of development and those concerned with evolving Catholic doctrine have a great deal to learn from this excellent book." -- Frances Stewart, Professor Emeritus of Development Economics, University of Oxford, UK