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Palgrave Macmillan

The Capability Approach

From Theory to Practice

ISBN 9781137001443
Publication Date July 2014
Formats Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan

This collection explores how the Capability Approach (CA) can be 'brought out of the realm of ideas' to the 'realm of policy and practice'. Despite its undeniable contributions, one of the critiques against the CA is the difficulty of its application. How can human capabilities be articulated and promoted in practice? Is the CA applicable in the Global South and the Global North? What are some of the challenges encountered in its application and how can they be addressed? The authors seek to answer these research questions, making an important analytical and empirical contribution to the CA and its application. Through a series of case studies from the Global North (France, Germany and the UK) and the Global South (India, Egypt, Brazil, Ghana and Mongolia), they provide useful insights not only into the different ways and contexts in which the CA can be applied, but also into the various challenges that are encountered during these applications and the means to overcome these challenges. The volume is a valuable resource for researchers, graduate students, practitioners and academics alike. It bridges the gap between development theory and practice by explaining the importance of CA applications and the contributions these can make to the refinement of the approach itself.

Solava Ibrahim is Lecturer in International Development at the Institute for Development Policy and Management at the University of Manchester, UK. She is a former Research Fellow at the Brooks World Poverty Institute and affiliated lecturer at the Centre of Development Studies at the University of Cambridge, UK. She is co-convener of the Empowerment and Collective Capabilities thematic group at the Human Development and Capability Association and the co-convener of the Multidimensional Poverty group at DSA and EADI.
Meera Tiwari is Reader in International Development Studies at the University of East London, UK. Her interconnected research interests include exploring social and economic poverties within the Capability Approach both within the southern and the northern contexts, and the Millennium Development Goals as a discourse for poverty reduction and policy pathways beyond 2015. She has conducted several field studies in India, Ethiopia, Tanzania and the UK. She is co-convenor for DSA and EADI's Multidimensional Poverty Groups and the co-convenor for The Human Development and the Capability Association's Thematic Group on Sustainable Human Development.

1. The Capability Approach: From Theory to Practice - Rationale, Review and Reflections; Solava Ibrahim
2. Capability Approach, Livelihoods and Social Inclusion: Agents of Change in Rural India; Meera Tiwari
3. The Dynamics of Collective Agency in Practice: Women's Fight against FGM in Upper Egypt; Solava Ibrahim
4. Growing-up on the Street – Understanding the Lives of Street Children and Youth in Africa; Wayne Shand
5. An agency-oriented exploration of capabilities: Reflections from the UNDP 2010 Brasil Ponto a Ponto campaign; Alexandre Apsan Frediani
6. Sustainability and the Capability Approach: From theory to practice?; PB Anand
7. Using the capability approach to evaluate health and care for individuals and groups in England; Tania Burchardt and Polly Vizard
8. Capability Approach Applications in Germany:
9. Official Poverty and Wealth Reporting and Beyond; Jürgen Volkert
10. Integrating Human Capital and Human Capabilities in Understanding the Value of Education; Enrica Chiappero-Martinetti and Anna Sabadash
11. French Public Involvement in Fair-trade: An Opportunity to Link the Solidarity Economy and the Capability Approach; Hanitra Randrianasolo and Jean-Luc Dubois

Wayne Shand, University of Manchester, UK
Alexandre Apsan Frediani, University College London, UK
PB Anand, University of Bradford, UK
Tania Burchardt, London School of Economics, UK
Polly Vizard, London School of Economics, UK
Jürgen Volkert, Pforzheim University, Germany
Enrica Chiappero-Martinetti, University of Pavia and IUSS, Pavia, Italy
Anna Sabadash, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium and University of Pavia, Italy
Hanitra Randrianasolo, Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, France
Jean-Luc Dubois, Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, France


'This book convincingly demonstrates that the application of the capability approach to development policy and practice should be prioritised…. by both researchers and practitioners. It provides both a thoughtful overview of 'why' and 'how' to move from theory to practice, and nine case studies (from rural India and Upper Egypt to the UK and Germany) that give detailed analyses of the application of the capability approach. Essential reading for all who are seeking to promote human flourishing.' — David Hulme, University of Manchester, UK
'People often ask 'how do I apply the capability approach in practice – it is a convincing idea in theory but what does it mean in concrete?' This book bridges the gap with a collection of wide ranging case studies from Brazil, Egypt, France, Germany, India and elsewhere. A must read for scholars and practitioners in search of a people centred and equitable development.' — Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, The New School University, New York, USA
'This book is a refreshing contribution to the literature on the operationalisation of the Capability Approach. The essays and case studies in this rich collection provide a lucid variety of accounts of how to apply the human development paradigm to the real world. This international team of scholars has produced an outstanding reference work for scholars, policy-makers and non-specialists.' — Flavio Comim, University of Cambridge, UK
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