Social scientists aspire to bring clarity to an rapidly changing economic, social and political reality. Our ultimate ambition is to contribute so that the knowledge we generate through research helps inspire public policies that respond to the complex challenges facing contemporary society.
Few researchers manage to reach that maximum agenda, but in this select group we can highlight Luis Moreno Fernández. Our dear friend and colleague Luis (Madrid, 72 years old) passed away on the 23rd, leaving behind him a legacy that many of us would like to treasure.
Perhaps due to his initial training and experience as a journalist and his brief but intense political performance as a councilor and provincial deputy in the transition, Luis had a surprisingly fine nose for identifying the trends of social change of the last three decades. In addition, he was able to deftly transform his insights into fruitful lines of inquiry and concepts widely adopted by the social sciences, the media, and the public.
From his doctoral thesis defended at the University of Edinburgh, in 1986, on national identities in Catalonia and Scotland and the processes of political decentralization of those territories, to his recent analyzes on robotization or the future of work, Luis always found himself two steps ahead of the rest of his fellow scientists in identifying social transformations.
Of all his work, the line of research in which Luis has probably left the deepest mark has been that dealing with the Welfare State and comparative social policies. Luis created and managed to consolidate in the Institute of Policies and Public Goods of the Higher Council for Scientific Research, the Research Group on Policies and the Welfare State (POSEB), to which the authors of this brief tribute belong.
When a few months ago we began to tinker with his contributions in this and other areas to write the introduction to a book with which 30 Spanish and foreign colleagues wanted to honor him, we realized that it was Luis’s effort that managed to position the State of Spanish well-being in comparative scientific reflection, which until the mid-90s had been ignored along with others from southern European countries. He greatly contributed to putting the so-called Mediterranean welfare regime on the conceptual map, beginning to work with foreign colleagues who attended meetings in our country and collaborated in research and publications.
Luis understood the Welfare State as an essential civilizing element of contemporary societies. He studied how the historical experiences of authoritarian governments, the role of religion, the position of the family in the provision of well-being, the delays in the industrialization of these countries and in the development of their social protection systems gave states their own characteristics. In addition, the reforms in Spanish social policies advocated by Luis have been a source of inspiration for a wide group of scholars and political decision-makers and have contributed to shaping some of the universalizing social protection programs that have gone materializing in recent years.
In 2022, Luis Moreno was recognized with the National Award for Research in Social Sciences. He was overwhelmed by it and especially excited that the jury valued his effort to transfer his research to society, as he did with his excellent oratory and his exquisite and ironic pen. Luis will not be able to collect this award but he will be in the memory of his colleagues and friends, in our memory, when his family does so on March 1.
Eloisa del Pino y Francisco Javier Moreno Fuentes They are researchers at the Institute of Public Policies and Goods (IPP-CSIC).
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