Francesco Laruffa

Hugues Siegenthaler © LIVES 

Francesco Laruffa

Post-doctoral fellow

E-mail: francesco.laruffa(at)




Short biography:

Francesco Laruffa is since August 2016 Research Fellow at the University of Geneva, where he works on the EU-funded RE-InVEST project. He is also member of the research network LIVES (NCCR-SNF) and of the CESCAP (Center for the study of capabilities in social and health services). Before coming to Geneva he was Research Fellow at the Humboldt University in Berlin from 2013 to 2016, where he worked on the project Saisir l’Europe. In April 2016 he was also visiting scholar at the International Research Centre for Ethical and Social Issues (IFZ) in Salzburg. Francesco holds an international Master in Economics (110/110 cum laude) from the University of Paris and the University of Turin as well as a Master in Public Policy and Social Change from the Collegio Carlo Alberto. He obtained different scholarships, including the "Studienkolleg zu Berlin" in 2011-2012 (involving a fellowship in the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes and the Gemeinnützige Hertie Stiftung).


Research interests:

Theories of social justice; welfare reform; critical democracy; neo-liberalism; critical theory.


Selected Publications 

Bonvin, Jean-Michel, and Francesco Laruffa. 2019. “Education as Investment? A comparison of the capability and social investment approaches to education policy.” In Social policy and the capability approach. Concepts, measurement and application, 19-39, edited by Mara Yerkes, Jana Javornik, and Anna Kurowska. Bristol: Policy Press. 

Bonvin, Jean-Michel, and Francesco Laruffa. 2018. “Human Beings as Receivers, Doers and Judges. The Anthropological Foundations of Sustainable Public Action in the Capability Approach” Community, Work and Family 21(5): 502-518.

Bonvin, Jean-Michel and Francesco Laruffa. 2018. “Deliberative democracy in the real world, the contribution of the capability approach.” International Review of Sociology 28(2): 216-233.

Bonvin, Jean-Michel, Francesco Laruffa, and Emilie Rosenstein. 2018. “Towards a Critical Sociology of Democracy: The Potential of the Capability Approach.” Critical Sociology 44 (6): 953–968. Available in open access at:  

Canhiac, Hugo and Francesco Laruffa. 2018. “Soziale Marktwirtschaft und Europäisches Sozialmodell: Über den Wandel diskursiver Leitbilder eines « Sozialen Europa »” In Eine soziales Europa als Herausforderung – L’Europe sociale en question, 87–116, edited by Karim Fertikh, Heike Wieters, and Bénédicte Zimmermann. Frankfurt/New York: Campus.

Laruffa, Francesco. 2019. “Social welfare discourses and scholars’ ethical-political dilemmas in the crisis of neoliberalism” Ethics and Social Welfare (online first).

Laruffa, Francesco. 2019. “What is a Capability-Enhancing Social Policy? Individual Autonomy, Democratic Citizenship and the Insufficiency of the Employment-Focused Paradigm” Journal of Human Development and Capabilities (online first).

Laruffa, Francesco. 2018. “Social investment: Diffusing ideas for redesigning citizenship after neo-liberalism?” Critical Social Policy 38(4): 688–706.

Laruffa, Francesco. 2018. “Towards a Post-Neoliberal Social Policy? Social Investment versus Capability Approach” Momentum Quarterly – Journal for Societal Progress 7(4): 171-187. Available in open access at:

Laruffa, Francesco. 2016. “The capability approach as a critical yardstick for the employability paradigm,” Sociologia del Lavoro 141: 23–37.

Laruffa, Francesco, and Hannah Schilling. 2016. “Work and Inequality Revisited: A Global Socio-Historical Perspective and its Political Implications.” Sociologia del Lavoro 144: 85-100.

Laruffa, Francesco. 2015. “Social Investment: Towards a more Social Europe?” In Social Europe: A Dead End, 215-236, edited by Aranud Lechevalier and Jan Wielgohs. Copenhagen: Djøf Publications.


Papers presented at conferences

Laruffa, F. “Re-ImaginingSocial Citizenship after Neoliberalism” at the conference“Rethinking Capitalism: from Globalization to Humanization” Fondazione Feltrinelli, 15-16 March 2019, Milan, Italy.

Bonvin, J.-M. and Laruffa, F. “The Future of Social Security beyond Social Investment: The Contribution of the Capability Approach” at the conference “Social Security at the Crossroads? Learning from the Past, Imagining the Future”, Foundation for International Studies on Social Security (FISS), 4-6 June 2018, Sigtuna, Sweden.

Bonvin, J.-M. and Laruffa, F. “Beyond Social Investment: The Contribution of the Capability Approach to Welfare Reform” at the conference Espanet-Italia, 13-15 September 2018, Florence, Italy.

Bonvin, J.-M. and Laruffa, F. “Towards a normative framework for welfare reform in Europe: a capability and human rights perspective”, Espanet European Conference, September 14-16 2017, Lisbon, Portugal.

Bonvin, J.-M. and Laruffa, F. “The Contribution of the Capability Approach to a Theory of Sustainable Welfare Society” ISA Forum of Sociology, July 10-14, 2016, Vienna, Austria.

Laruffa, F. “Was ist "sozial" am Sozialinvestitionsparadigma?” at the conference “In Menschen investieren – nur wie? Zur Perspektive der Sozialinvestitionen”, Internationales Forschungszentrum für soziale und ethische Fragen (IFZ), February 16-17, 2017, Salzburg, Austria.   

Laruffa, F. and Schilling, H. “Decent Work: A Challenge for a Global Sociology of Labor”, ISA Forum of Sociology, July 10-14, 2016, Vienna, Austria.

Laruffa, F. “Les maigres perspectives de l’investissement social” at the conference “Quel avenir pour l'Europe sociale dans le contexte du retour des nations ?”, Revue Française des Affaires Sociales, 24th November 2016, Paris, France.

Laruffa, F. “Der Sozialinvestitionsansatz auf europäischer Ebene aus der Sicht des Capability Ansatzes” at the conference “Soziale Investitionen kritisch betrachtet” Internationales Forschungszentrum für soziale und ethische Fragen (IFZ), November 20-27, 2015, Salzburg, Austria.

Colletis, G., Laruffa, F., Lechevalier, A., and Salles, M. “Les représentations de l’Europe sociale” at the conference “Les usages de la sociologie des politiques sociales”, Association Française de Sociologie, October 2-3 2014, Dijion, France.

Laruffa, F. “The Capability Approach as a Normative Framework for Welfare Reform in Europe” at the conference “Problems and Perspectives of European Integration: Economics, Politics, and Solidarity in Hard Times”, Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaftliches Institut, September 22-26, 2014, Berlin, Germany.

Laruffa, F. “The Capability Approach as a Normative Framework for the Assessment of Welfare Reform in Europe. The Case of Social Investment” at the Espanet-Italia conference, September 18-20, 2014, Turin, Italy.

Laruffa, F. “Social Policies contrasting Young People’s Vulnerability in Southern Europe. A Capability Approach Perspective” Human Development and Capability Association Conference, September 2-5, 2014, Athens, Greece.

Laruffa, F. “Can the Capability Approach Help to Think at Welfare Reform?” presented at the Symposium “New B/Orders of Social Europe in the Course of the Euro Crisis – Property, the Welfare State and Distributive Justice”, May 25 - June 4 2014, Procida, Italy.