Women's Capabilities and Social Justice

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1 University Press Scholarship Online You are looking at 1-10 of 57 items for: keywords : capability approach Women's Capabilities and Social Justice Martha Nussbaum in Gender Justice, Development, and Rights Published in print: 2002 Published Online: January 2005 ISBN: eisbn: DOI: / This chapter proposes a capabilities approach to international development that can recognize and address the special problems women face. It focuses on human capabilities, i.e., what people are able to do and be, based on the idea that a life is worthy of the dignity of the human being. A list of central human capabilities are identified, and set within the context of a type of political liberalism that makes them specific political goals and free from any specific metaphysical grounding. This way, capabilities become the object of an overlapping consensus among people who would otherwise have different conceptions of the good. Basic Needs and Basic Capabilities in Valuing Freedoms: Sen's Capability Approach and Poverty Reduction DOI: / Each of the four chapters of Part I of the book synthesizes one aspect that must be specified in the operationalization of the capability approach, then proposes a framework for doing so. This fifth chapter returns to the issues of whether basic capabilities pertaining to absolute poverty may be identified from without, and whether in poverty reduction activities it is necessary to focus on achieving functionings rather than expanding capabilities. It applies the account of values and decision making processes built up in the previous three chapters to the issue of poverty with which economic development is concerned, and Page 1 of 7

2 asks what, in practice, it means to address absolute poverty within the capability approach whether and if basic capabilities can be specified. It discusses the relativity of these basic capabilities, and the operational implications of focusing on capability rather than functionings, and finally proposes a schematic four part operational definition for pursuing capabilities. The focus is on Amartya Sen's work. Poverty and Human Development in Valuing Freedoms: Sen's Capability Approach and Poverty Reduction DOI: / Each of the four chapters of Part I of the book synthesizes one aspect that must be specified in the operationalization of the capability approach, then proposes a framework for doing so. The issue of this second chapter is how one specifies the dimensions of valuable functioning or capability. Martha Nussbaum's work on central human capabilities and John Finnis's work on basic human reasons for action are both presented, and then alternative accounts of universal human needs and values are briefly considered. The theoretical conception of basic human values that has been developed by Finnis is proposed as being a conception that enables and requires participatory dialogue in application, has objective foundations, and can also coherently engage with and be refined by the large and growing empirical literatures on happiness, subjective well being, quality of life indicators, and views of the poor which have not been well integrated with poverty reduction approaches. This conception can also mesh well with methodological literatures on participation, and be used by persons with diverse philosophical approaches and opinions. Ends with a table listing the dimensions of human development from 39 different disciplines. Gender, equality and capabilities* Judy Fudge in The Role of Labour Standards in Development: From theory to sustainable practice? Published in print: 2011 Published Online: January 2013 ISBN: eisbn: Publisher: British Academy DOI: /bacad/ Page 2 of 7

3 This chapter considers the relationship between women's equality, care work, and sustainable development, and develops a conceptual framework that can be used to understand this complex relationship. The chapter is organized as follows. The second section briefly reviews the relationship between sustainable development, which includes the International Labour Organisation's (ILO) Decent Work Agenda, and women's equality. It answers the question on what basis or dimension women's equality should be measured. Instead of assessing a range of potential answers, it focuses on Amartya Sen's notion of substantive freedom and his capabilities approach. The third section argues that women's equality, and especially the relationship between women's equality and responsibility for care work, illustrates both the promise of, and the limitations to, Sen's capabilities approach. The fourth section sketches some of the salient differences between paid and unpaid care work in the North and the South, which also considers the capacity of the ILO 2009 report, Decent Work for Domestic Workers, to respond to these differences. Drawing upon feminist scholars, the fifth section argues that, supplemented by a theory of choice, deliberative mechanisms, and a social theory of power, the capabilities approach can be a useful tool for conceptualising women's equality and for recognising the significance of socially necessary care work. The chapter concludes by suggesting that a robust capabilities approach designed to address gender inequality and to incorporate care work illuminates the limitations in the current approaches of antidiscrimination law for addressing women's inequality. Introduction: Capability and Valuation in Valuing Freedoms: Sen's Capability Approach and Poverty Reduction DOI: / Starts with an overview of the problem of capability and valuation in the context of Amartya Sen's capability approach. It describes the book as an attempt to operationalize the capability approach, and takes as a focal problem the need for a methodology by which Oxfam field staff in Pakistan could identify which valuable capabilities a development activity had expanded or contracted. The rest of the chapter identifies the problem more precisely: Sen's capability approach is introduced, and several salient criticisms of it are reviewed; the need for a framework is discussed; and the approach taken by John Finnis summarized. Finally, the key terms and sources used in the book are introduced, Page 3 of 7

4 and the structure of the book is outlined, showing the relation of each chapter to the overall topic. The chapters are tethered to the problem of how to identify, obtain, and process the information that is required to implement the capability approach in the assessment of poverty reduction initiatives at the micro economic level. Beyond Compassion and Humanity Martha C. Nussbaum in Animal Rights: Current Debates and New Directions Published in print: 2005 Published Online: March 2012 ISBN: eisbn: DOI: / acprof:oso/ This chapter discusses the application of the capabilities approach to the question of animal rights. It explains that this approach provides better theoretical guidance on the issue of animal entitlements over contractarian and utilitarian approaches because it is capable of recognising a wide range of types of animal dignity and of corresponding needs for flourishing. The chapter criticises the view of philosopher Immanuel Kant and his followers that mistreatment of animals does not raise questions of justice and suggests that the claims of animals should be rooted in an understanding of what sorts of capabilities animals have. Engendering Education: Prospects For a Rights Based Approach To Female Education Deprivation In India Ramya Subrahmanian in Gender Justice, Development, and Rights Published in print: 2002 Published Online: January 2005 ISBN: eisbn: DOI: / This chapter examines two challenges to promoting the right of education in India: economic and education policies, and the gender perspective used to justify a focus on women s education. The capabilities framework is used to distinguish rights-based approaches to social development from the more conventional policy debates in the education sector. The application of the capabilities approach to arguments for the right to education is discussed. Page 4 of 7

5 The Pluralism of Disadvantage Jonathan Wolff and Avner De-Shalit in Disadvantage Published in print: 2007 Published Online: May 2007 ISBN: eisbn: DOI: / acprof:oso/ This chapter discusses the nature of disadvantage. It opens with an analysis of the pluralism of disadvantage, and rejects the monist view. If instead of building a theory of equality on imaginary examples, theorists start by examining real life cases, it will become clear that not all disadvantages are reducible to each other, and therefore disadvantage is plural in its nature. But this pluralism implies that there will be a problem of indexing: deciding which disadvantages are more important or urgent. The capability approach, developed by Amartya Sen and others, serves as the starting point for the theory advanced here. According to this theory, in order to understand how well or badly someone's life is going, we need to attend to what they can do and be ; their capability to function. Valuing Freedoms Item type: book DOI: / The author examines how Amartya Sen's capability approach can be coherently and practically put to work in participatory poverty reduction activities so that the voices and values of the poor matter. Sen argues that economic development should expand valuable capabilities; the author probes how what is valuable can be identified. Sen deliberately left the capability approach incomplete in order to ensure its relevance to persons and cultures with different understandings of the good. The book has an introductory chapter, followed by 2 parts, and a brief appendix that looks at some of Sen's formalized relationships and proposes various amendments to these. Part I (4 chapters) proposes a framework for identifying valuable capabilities that retains this fundamental incompleteness and space for individual and cultural diversity. It draws Sen's work into discussion with a number of authors and critics, especially John Finnis, in order to suggest a possible way in which the value issues may be addressed coherently, and the methodological implications worked out in a participatory manner. The Page 5 of 7

6 author addresses foundational issues regarding the identification and pursuit of valuable dimensions of human development based in practical reason, then observes that much of the criticism of development arises from negative impacts on social or cultural/religious dimensions that are also deeply valued by the poor. Part I closes with a four part operational definition of basic capability that bridges basic needs, participation, and informed consent. Part II (2 chapters) critically discusses one narrow set of methodologies (those of micro project evaluation) and suggests a tool for improving the evaluation of participatory projects that are consistent with the tenets of reason advanced in Part I an alternative participatory method for systematically identifying valued changes in participants capability sets. Three case studies of women's income generation activities in Pakistan goat rearing, adult literacy, and rose cultivation contrast economic cost benefit analysis of each activity with capability analysis. Health and Human Flourishing Jennifer Prah Ruger in Health and Social Justice Published in print: 2009 Published Online: February 2010 ISBN: eisbn: DOI: / acprof:oso/ This chapter lays the philosophical foundation for the book's theoretical framework, drawing on moral and political philosophy to argue that Aristotle's theory and Sen's capability approach provide the philosophical basis for the special moral importance of health capabilities as a central focal variable for assessing equality and efficiency in health policy. Both take a universal view of humans' capability to flourish as an end of moral and political philosophy and provide an analytical framework for addressing questions of justice and human rights in a way other philosophical schools do not. The capability approach considers human heterogeneity when assessing equality, and uses the capability to achieve valuable functionings as the main variable for evaluation. It also respects the central importance of freedom and reason in enabling humans to make choices. This is a departure from more Rawlsian resource based evaluation frameworks that measure equality according to the attainment of tangible rewards such as wealth, income and health care. This chapter highlights the important contributions of these philosophical theories to the author's own thinking, while at the same time recognizes their limitations and demonstrates how the health capability paradigm can address such drawbacks in the specific context Page 6 of 7

7 of the development, organization, and delivery of health systems and policy. Page 7 of 7

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