Two authors who have been leaders of the "social quality approach" that emerged in European social policy circles in the 1990s, and two authors who have worked with the "human development" and "human security" approaches that emerged in international development policy circles in the 1980s and 90s, collaborate in this paper in order to outline and compare the two traditions. The "human development" tradition has focused on the quality of individual human lives, understood as influenced by interconnections that transcend conventional disciplinary boundaries; its "human security" branch goes deeper into study of human vulnerability and the textures of daily life. The "social quality" tradition tries to understand individual lives as lived within a societal fabric, to identify and measure key elements of that fabric, and to develop a correspondingly grounded public policy approach. The paper is a first step in a project to assess the possible complementarity, in theorising and practical application, of these two streams of work.

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Erasmus University Rotterdam
ISS Working Papers - General Series
ISS Working Paper Series / General Series
International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University (ISS)

Gasper, D., van der Maesen, L., Truong, T.-D., & Walker, A. (2008). Human security and social quality: contrasts and complementaries. ISS Working Paper Series / General Series (Vol. 462, pp. 1–31). Retrieved from