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From Individual to Collective Capabilities: The Capability Approach as a Conceptual Framework for Self‐help

From Individual to Collective Capabilities: The Capability Approach as a Conceptual Framework for... This paper emphasizes the importance of collectivities for human capabilities. Using the example of self‐help, the paper demonstrates how the poor can act together to expand and exercise new ‘collective capabilities’. The paper argues that the Capability Approach (CA), with its emphasis on freedoms and agency, is a suitable — however insufficient — conceptual framework for self‐help analysis. It points out the limitations of the CA in capturing the interactive relationship between individual capabilities and social structures. To incorporate this ‘collective’ dimension within the CA, the paper re‐emphasizes the intrinsic and instrumental value of social structures, explores the concepts of collective freedoms and collective agency, and compliments the CA with the literature on collective action, institutions and social capital into an integrated analytical framework for ‘collective capabilities’. The paper finally operationalizes this framework through three case studies of self‐help initiatives among the poor in Egypt. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Human Development Taylor & Francis

From Individual to Collective Capabilities: The Capability Approach as a Conceptual Framework for Self‐help

Journal of Human Development , Volume 7 (3): 20 – Nov 1, 2006
20 pages

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References (54)

Publisher
Taylor & Francis
Copyright
Copyright United Nations Development Programme
ISSN
1464-9888
eISSN
1469-9516
DOI
10.1080/14649880600815982
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This paper emphasizes the importance of collectivities for human capabilities. Using the example of self‐help, the paper demonstrates how the poor can act together to expand and exercise new ‘collective capabilities’. The paper argues that the Capability Approach (CA), with its emphasis on freedoms and agency, is a suitable — however insufficient — conceptual framework for self‐help analysis. It points out the limitations of the CA in capturing the interactive relationship between individual capabilities and social structures. To incorporate this ‘collective’ dimension within the CA, the paper re‐emphasizes the intrinsic and instrumental value of social structures, explores the concepts of collective freedoms and collective agency, and compliments the CA with the literature on collective action, institutions and social capital into an integrated analytical framework for ‘collective capabilities’. The paper finally operationalizes this framework through three case studies of self‐help initiatives among the poor in Egypt.

Journal

Journal of Human DevelopmentTaylor & Francis

Published: Nov 1, 2006

Keywords: Sen; Capability Approach; Self‐help; Collective capabilities; Poverty

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