Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Politics and International Studies

Research Student: Carlos Alberto Arellano-Esparza

Human flourishing: an assessment of social policy in Mexico

Photo of Carlos Alberto Arellano-Esparza

My PhD thesis examines how the concept of human flourishing offers new insights into the study of development. It aims to reconceptualise development so that it focuses on the flourishing of the human being and in doing so contests some of the notions that have informed the schools of development. This thesis proposes that Julio Boltvinik’s Human Flourishing Approach (HFA) is a viable alternative to other development approaches and offers a new perspective for addressing the development of the human being.

Our conceptualisation of the HFA suggests that the State is the main guarantor of the societal conditions that enable or hinder human flourishing in the enactment of rights through social policy. The thesis illustrates the approach in relation to Mexico. It scrutinises the legal architecture of Mexican social policy using HFA concepts. This assessment allow us to determine how coherent the articulation of rights, laws and social programmes are in relation to each other and how far they deliver the conditions that would enable the flourishing of human beings.

Under the lens of the HFA, the re-evaluation of the nature of social policy stresses the links between needs, capacities and rights, while suggesting that a truly emancipatory policy should aim at liberating the individual from the yoke of necessity. Finally it argues for a comprehensive instrumentation of social policy if social rights are to be fulfilled.

Key publications


  • The insufficiency of Development: why hasn’t it delivered? (under review).
  • The no-capability of the Capabilities Approach to inform public policy (under review).
  • The Human Flourishing Approach: understanding the human being (under review).
  • Social policy and human rights: the key to emancipation (in preparation).
  • A glance at Mexico’s contemporary social policy (in preparation).


  • La sintáxis del espacio (forthcoming)

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