- Maribel Martín-Estalayo, Maribel Martín-EstalayoComplutense University of Madrid
- Aurora Castillo, Aurora CastilloComplutense University of Madrid
- María José BarahonaMaría José BarahonaComplutense University of Madrid
- and Begoña LeyraBegoña LeyraComplutense University of Madrid
This article studies the influence of Concepción Arenal (1820–1893) on the foundations of social work in Spain. With her, one can learn about the most important ideas of the 19th-century liberal school of thought, which, in its enlightened and reforming aspect, had a great impact on the consideration of human dignity, poverty, the relationship between intervener and intervened—as well as the role and responsibility of the state, civil society, and charity in social intervention. Her pragmatic perspective stands out among those authors who contributed with elements of analysis to theorizing the social question in Spain. Her singularity is defined by the centrality of the human being and the integral development of one’s abilities in a society where the necessary means can be found. Additionally, she is both a national and international inspiration thanks to her contribution to women’s rights and the reform of the penal code.