Human Dignity and Human Development

A Multidisciplinary Research Initiative of the Kellogg Institute for International Studies

Since 2014, the Kellogg Institute for International Studies has spearheaded a research initiative in human dignity and human development.  Led by Institute Director Paolo Carozza, the research effort responds to a growing consensus in international development theory and practice that aggregate economic growth is insufficient to advance people’s well being.  Investigating how human dignity might serve as a point of synthesis across diverse development approaches, the initiative aims to generate viable recommendations for theory and practice.

Since convening an international conference in Rome in October 2014, the Institute has brought together scholars and practitioners to consider human dignity from diverse methodological perspectives, giving emphasis to the experience of dignity in practice.  A second conference in October 2015 built upon insights of the first.  Rather than envisioning a new “dignity approach” to development, the conference generated reflection on those principles and methods that enable practitioners to value and protect human dignity.

An edited volume, currently underway with the Kellogg Institute book series with the University of Notre Dame Press, engages diverse methodological perspectives to arrive at an understanding of dignity informed by the experience of development practice. Putting into dialogue qualitative and quantitative insights with theoretical perspectives, the volume considers whether dignity necessitates certain development goals, and hence, certain methods, processes, and measures.

In October 2016, the Kellogg Institute brought together contributing authors for a book workshop, generating constructive feedback on the manuscript.  The authors also took part in a Kellogg colloquium considering how human dignity might inform the future research and teaching of Notre Dame’s new Keough School of Global Affairs. Given the school’s central focus on “integral human development,” scholars and practitioners discussed the role of human dignity for teaching and realizing this holistic vision of international development.

Endeavoring to generate sustainable impact, the Kellogg Institute’s multidisciplinary initiative in human dignity and human development aims to facilitate understanding and revitalize partnerships across development approaches, resulting in practical insights for policy and practice.