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The Capability Approach: Its Development, Critiques and Recent Advances

David A. Clark
Many of these studies provide empirical support for the CA by suggesting that income and capabilities do not always go together. Finally, a third strand of work highlights group disparities by pointing to gross inequalities in terms of life expectancy, nutrition and literacy, etc, along the lines of gender, race, class, caste and age (e.g. Sen, 1985; 1999; Majumdar and Subramanian, 2001).
The Capability Approach: Its Development, Critiques and Recent Advances - David A. Clark - Highlight Loc. 252-55 | Added on Tuesday, October 22, 2013, 11:10 AM
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Many of these studies provide empirical support for the CA by suggesting that income and capabilities do not always go together. Finally, a third strand of work highlights group disparities by pointing to gross inequalities in terms of life expectancy, nutrition and literacy, etc, along the lines of gender, race, class, caste and age (e.g. Sen, 1985; 1999; Majumdar and Subramanian, 2001).
The Capability Approach: Its Development, Critiques and Recent Advances - David A. Clark - Highlight Loc. 252-55 | Added on Tuesday, October 22, 2013, 11:10 AM
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One promising approach, which has not been fully worked out, involves developing a matrix of means and ends to help think through the many complex interconnections between different capabilities together with the policy implications
The Capability Approach: Its Development, Critiques and Recent Advances - David A. Clark - Highlight Loc. 221-22 | Added on Tuesday, October 22, 2013, 11:06 AM
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One promising approach, which has not been fully worked out, involves developing a matrix of means and ends to help think through the many complex interconnections between different capabilities together with the policy implications
The Capability Approach: Its Development, Critiques and Recent Advances - David A. Clark - Highlight Loc. 221-22 | Added on Tuesday, October 22, 2013, 11:06 AM
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The latest version of Sen?s CA explicitly recognises five broad categories of instrumental freedoms (political freedom, economic facilities, social opportunities, transparency guarantees and protective security),
The Capability Approach: Its Development, Critiques and Recent Advances - David A. Clark - Highlight Loc. 218-19 | Added on Tuesday, October 22, 2013, 11:00 AM
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The latest version of Sen?s CA explicitly recognises five broad categories of instrumental freedoms (political freedom, economic facilities, social opportunities, transparency guarantees and protective security),
The Capability Approach: Its Development, Critiques and Recent Advances - David A. Clark - Highlight Loc. 218-19 | Added on Tuesday, October 22, 2013, 11:00 AM
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The shear number, quality and diversity of practical applications that have emerged in recent years arguably lays to rest any remaining concerns about the possibility of making the CA operational.
The Capability Approach: Its Development, Critiques and Recent Advances - David A. Clark - Highlight Loc. 263-64 | Added on Tuesday, October 22, 2013, 01:28 PM
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The shear number, quality and diversity of practical applications that have emerged in recent years arguably lays to rest any remaining concerns about the possibility of making the CA operational.
The Capability Approach: Its Development, Critiques and Recent Advances - David A. Clark - Highlight Loc. 263-64 | Added on Tuesday, October 22, 2013, 01:28 PM
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which is not fundamentally at odds with the capabilities advocated by scholars like Nussbaum and Sen. Most theories of well-being and need, however, ought to say more about (1) the practical side of survival and development in poor countries, (2) the psychology of human well-being, i.e. mental functioning; and (3) some of the ?better things? in life such as recreation (Clark, 2002, pp.136-44).
The Capability Approach: Its Development, Critiques and Recent Advances - David A. Clark - Highlight Loc. 172-75 | Added on Monday, October 21, 2013, 09:03 AM
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which is not fundamentally at odds with the capabilities advocated by scholars like Nussbaum and Sen. Most theories of well-being and need, however, ought to say more about (1) the practical side of survival and development in poor countries, (2) the psychology of human well-being, i.e. mental functioning; and (3) some of the ?better things? in life such as recreation (Clark, 2002, pp.136-44).
The Capability Approach: Its Development, Critiques and Recent Advances - David A. Clark - Highlight Loc. 172-75 | Added on Monday, October 21, 2013, 09:03 AM
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This brings us to David Clark?s plea for ?empirical philosophy? (Clark, 2002, p.5; 2002a), and his attempt to confront abstract concepts of human well-being and development with the values and experiences of the poor (see Clark, 2000; 2002; 2003; see also Okin, 2003). Clark developed and applied a methodology and survey instrument for investigating perceptions of well-being among the urban and rural poor in South Africa (Clark, 2002, ch.4).
The Capability Approach: Its Development, Critiques and Recent Advances - David A. Clark - Highlight Loc. 165-68 | Added on Monday, October 21, 2013, 09:01 AM
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This brings us to David Clark?s plea for ?empirical philosophy? (Clark, 2002, p.5; 2002a), and his attempt to confront abstract concepts of human well-being and development with the values and experiences of the poor (see Clark, 2000; 2002; 2003; see also Okin, 2003). Clark developed and applied a methodology and survey instrument for investigating perceptions of well-being among the urban and rural poor in South Africa (Clark, 2002, ch.4).
The Capability Approach: Its Development, Critiques and Recent Advances - David A. Clark - Highlight Loc. 165-68 | Added on Monday, October 21, 2013, 09:01 AM
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In the event of a conflict between values or traditions, Sen argues ?it is the people directly involved who must have the opportunity to participate in deciding what should be chosen?, not local elites (political or religious) or cultural ?experts? (domestic or foreign) (Sen, 1999, pp.31-2). Sabina Alkire (2002, esp. ch.4)
The Capability Approach: Its Development, Critiques and Recent Advances - David A. Clark - Highlight Loc. 158-61 | Added on Monday, October 21, 2013, 08:58 AM
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In the event of a conflict between values or traditions, Sen argues ?it is the people directly involved who must have the opportunity to participate in deciding what should be chosen?, not local elites (political or religious) or cultural ?experts? (domestic or foreign) (Sen, 1999, pp.31-2). Sabina Alkire (2002, esp. ch.4)
The Capability Approach: Its Development, Critiques and Recent Advances - David A. Clark - Highlight Loc. 158-61 | Added on Monday, October 21, 2013, 08:58 AM
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Meanwhile Sen (1999; 2004; 2005) has advocated a more direct approach for eliciting relevant information about the formation of human values, which emphasises the constructive role of democracy and the importance of public participation and discussion:
The Capability Approach: Its Development, Critiques and Recent Advances - David A. Clark - Highlight Loc. 153-55 | Added on Monday, October 21, 2013, 08:52 AM
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Meanwhile Sen (1999; 2004; 2005) has advocated a more direct approach for eliciting relevant information about the formation of human values, which emphasises the constructive role of democracy and the importance of public participation and discussion:
The Capability Approach: Its Development, Critiques and Recent Advances - David A. Clark - Highlight Loc. 153-55 | Added on Monday, October 21, 2013, 08:52 AM
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Some commentators have suggested that it is paternalistic for a middle class North American philosopher to determine capabilities for other cultures and societies and have advocated the deployment of more participatory approaches (Stewart, 2001, p.1192; Clark, 2002).
The Capability Approach: Its Development, Critiques and Recent Advances - David A. Clark - Highlight Loc. 147-49 | Added on Sunday, October 20, 2013, 08:18 PM
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Some commentators have suggested that it is paternalistic for a middle class North American philosopher to determine capabilities for other cultures and societies and have advocated the deployment of more participatory approaches (Stewart, 2001, p.1192; Clark, 2002).
The Capability Approach: Its Development, Critiques and Recent Advances - David A. Clark - Highlight Loc. 147-49 | Added on Sunday, October 20, 2013, 08:18 PM
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In other words it is not so much the method itself that is fraught but its potential for abuse. Nussbaum claims that recent lists represent ?years of cross cultural discussion? (Nussbaum, 2000, p.76).
The Capability Approach: Its Development, Critiques and Recent Advances - David A. Clark - Highlight Loc. 142-44 | Added on Sunday, October 20, 2013, 08:17 PM
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In other words it is not so much the method itself that is fraught but its potential for abuse. Nussbaum claims that recent lists represent ?years of cross cultural discussion? (Nussbaum, 2000, p.76).
The Capability Approach: Its Development, Critiques and Recent Advances - David A. Clark - Highlight Loc. 142-44 | Added on Sunday, October 20, 2013, 08:17 PM
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Finally, the informational requirements of the CA can be extremely high (see Alkire, 2002, pp.181-93; Sen, 1994). Evaluating social states typically depends on acquiring data on multiple functionings. In some cases, however, the relevant social indicators simply aren?t available.
The Capability Approach: Its Development, Critiques and Recent Advances - David A. Clark - Highlight Loc. 115-17 | Added on Sunday, October 20, 2013, 08:13 PM
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Finally, the informational requirements of the CA can be extremely high (see Alkire, 2002, pp.181-93; Sen, 1994). Evaluating social states typically depends on acquiring data on multiple functionings. In some cases, however, the relevant social indicators simply aren?t available.
The Capability Approach: Its Development, Critiques and Recent Advances - David A. Clark - Highlight Loc. 115-17 | Added on Sunday, October 20, 2013, 08:13 PM
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Three points are noteworthy. First, Sen does not subscribe to a fixed or definitive list of capabilities. Instead he argues that the selection and weighting of capabilities depend on personal value judgements (which are partly influenced by the nature and purpose of the evaluative exercise). While Sen often provides examples of intrinsically valuable capabilities ? such as being able to ?live long, escape avoidable morbidity, be well nourished, be able to read, write and communicate, take part in literary and scientific pursuits and so forth? (Sen, 1984, p.497; see also Clark, 2002, table 3.1) ? he refuses to endorse a unique list of capabilities as ?objectively correct? for practical and strategic reasons (Sen,
The Capability Approach: Its Development, Critiques and Recent Advances - David A. Clark - Highlight Loc. 85-90 | Added on Sunday, October 20, 2013, 08:10 PM
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Three points are noteworthy. First, Sen does not subscribe to a fixed or definitive list of capabilities. Instead he argues that the selection and weighting of capabilities depend on personal value judgements (which are partly influenced by the nature and purpose of the evaluative exercise). While Sen often provides examples of intrinsically valuable capabilities ? such as being able to ?live long, escape avoidable morbidity, be well nourished, be able to read, write and communicate, take part in literary and scientific pursuits and so forth? (Sen, 1984, p.497; see also Clark, 2002, table 3.1) ? he refuses to endorse a unique list of capabilities as ?objectively correct? for practical and strategic reasons (Sen,
The Capability Approach: Its Development, Critiques and Recent Advances - David A. Clark - Highlight Loc. 85-90 | Added on Sunday, October 20, 2013, 08:10 PM
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A functioning therefore refers to the use a person makes of the commodities at his or her command. ? Capability ? A capability reflects a person?s ability to achieve a given functioning (?doing? or ?being?) (Saith, 2001, p.8). For example, a person may have the ability to avoid hunger, but may choose to fast or go on hunger strike instead.
The Capability Approach: Its Development, Critiques and Recent Advances - David A. Clark - Highlight Loc. 67-69 | Added on Sunday, October 20, 2013, 08:07 PM
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A functioning therefore refers to the use a person makes of the commodities at his or her command. ? Capability ? A capability reflects a person?s ability to achieve a given functioning (?doing? or ?being?) (Saith, 2001, p.8). For example, a person may have the ability to avoid hunger, but may choose to fast or go on hunger strike instead.
The Capability Approach: Its Development, Critiques and Recent Advances - David A. Clark - Highlight Loc. 67-69 | Added on Sunday, October 20, 2013, 08:07 PM
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what is required is a more direct approach that focuses on human function(ing)s and the capability to achieve valuable function(ing)s. Sen (1985; 1993) makes the following distinctions:
The Capability Approach: Its Development, Critiques and Recent Advances - David A. Clark - Highlight Loc. 62-63 | Added on Sunday, October 20, 2013, 08:06 PM
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what is required is a more direct approach that focuses on human function(ing)s and the capability to achieve valuable function(ing)s. Sen (1985; 1993) makes the following distinctions:
The Capability Approach: Its Development, Critiques and Recent Advances - David A. Clark - Highlight Loc. 62-63 | Added on Sunday, October 20, 2013, 08:06 PM
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Sen points out that there is more to life than achieving utility. ?Happiness or desire fulfilment represents only one aspect of human existence? (Sen, 1984, p.512). While it is important to take note of utility, there are many other things of intrinsic value (notably rights and positive freedoms) that are neglected by the welfare approach (Sen, 1987, p.8; 1992, p.54; 1999, p.62).
The Capability Approach: Its Development, Critiques and Recent Advances - David A. Clark - Highlight Loc. 54-57 | Added on Sunday, October 20, 2013, 08:05 PM
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Sen points out that there is more to life than achieving utility. ?Happiness or desire fulfilment represents only one aspect of human existence? (Sen, 1984, p.512). While it is important to take note of utility, there are many other things of intrinsic value (notably rights and positive freedoms) that are neglected by the welfare approach (Sen, 1987, p.8; 1992, p.54; 1999, p.62).
The Capability Approach: Its Development, Critiques and Recent Advances - David A. Clark - Highlight Loc. 54-57 | Added on Sunday, October 20, 2013, 08:05 PM
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Alkire (2002, p.170) observes that ?the single most important function of the CA is to make explicit some implicit assumptions in the BNA about the value of choice and participation (and the disvalue of coercion)?.
The Capability Approach: Its Development, Critiques and Recent Advances - David A. Clark - Highlight Loc. 29-31 | Added on Sunday, October 20, 2013, 08:01 PM
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Alkire (2002, p.170) observes that ?the single most important function of the CA is to make explicit some implicit assumptions in the BNA about the value of choice and participation (and the disvalue of coercion)?.
The Capability Approach: Its Development, Critiques and Recent Advances - David A. Clark - Highlight Loc. 29-31 | Added on Sunday, October 20, 2013, 08:01 PM
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Sen tries to distinguish between the CA and BNA through a fivefold critique of the latter (Sen, 1984, pp.513-5). Some of Sen?s criticisms, however, appear to misrepresent the BNA (Alkire, 2002, pp.166-170). In particular the argument that the BNA lapses into a form of ?commodity fetishism? has been challenged.
The Capability Approach: Its Development, Critiques and Recent Advances - David A. Clark - Highlight Loc. 21-23 | Added on Sunday, October 20, 2013, 07:59 PM
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Sen tries to distinguish between the CA and BNA through a fivefold critique of the latter (Sen, 1984, pp.513-5). Some of Sen?s criticisms, however, appear to misrepresent the BNA (Alkire, 2002, pp.166-170). In particular the argument that the BNA lapses into a form of ?commodity fetishism? has been challenged.
The Capability Approach: Its Development, Critiques and Recent Advances - David A. Clark - Highlight Loc. 21-23 | Added on Sunday, October 20, 2013, 07:59 PM
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Over the last decade Amartya Sen?s Capability Approach (CA) has emerged as the leading alternative to standard economic frameworks for thinking about poverty, inequality and human development generally.
The Capability Approach: Its Development, Critiques and Recent Advances - David A. Clark - Highlight Loc. 5-6 | Added on Sunday, October 20, 2013, 07:56 PM
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Over the last decade Amartya Sen?s Capability Approach (CA) has emerged as the leading alternative to standard economic frameworks for thinking about poverty, inequality and human development generally.
The Capability Approach: Its Development, Critiques and Recent Advances - David A. Clark - Highlight Loc. 5-6 | Added on Sunday, October 20, 2013, 07:56 PM
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