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

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  • Solava Ibrahim
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    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.

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    File URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14649880600815982
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Journal of Human Development and Capabilities.

    Volume (Year): 7 (2006)
    Issue (Month): 3 ()
    Pages: 397-416

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    Handle: RePEc:taf:jhudca:v:7:y:2006:i:3:p:397-416

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    Web page: http://www.tandfonline.com/CJHD20

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    Web: http://www.tandfonline.com/pricing/journal/CJHD20

    Related research

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

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    Cited by:
    1. Giraud , Gaël & Renouard, Cécile, 2009. "Relational Capability: An Indicator of Collective Empowerment," ESSEC Working Papers DR 09012, ESSEC Research Center, ESSEC Business School.
    2. Bakker, Karen & Kooy, Michelle & Shofiani, Nur Endah & Martijn, Ernst-Jan, 2008. "Governance Failure: Rethinking the Institutional Dimensions of Urban Water Supply to Poor Households," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(10), pages 1891-1915, October.
    3. Demals, Thierry & Hyard, Alexandra, 2014. "Is Amartya Sen's sustainable freedom a broader vision of sustainability?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 33-38.
    4. de Vries, Bert J.M. & Petersen, Arthur C., 2009. "Conceptualizing sustainable development: An assessment methodology connecting values, knowledge, worldviews and scenarios," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(4), pages 1006-1019, February.
    5. Griewald, Yuliana & Rauschmayer, Felix, 2014. "Exploring an environmental conflict from a capability perspective," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 30-39.
    6. Rauschmayer, Felix & Bauler, Tom & Schäpke, Niko, 2013. "Towards a governance of sustainability transitions: Giving place to individuals," UFZ Discussion Papers 17/2013, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), Division of Social Sciences (ÖKUS).
    7. Cecile Renouard, 2011. "Corporate Social Responsibility, Utilitarianism, and the Capabilities Approach," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 98(1), pages 85-97, January.
    8. Scarlato, Margherita, 2012. "Social Enterprise, Capabilities and Development: Lessons from Ecuador," MPRA Paper 37618, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Griewald, Yuliana & Rauschmayer, Felix, 2013. "Exploring a nature-related conflict from a capability perspective," UFZ Discussion Papers 7/2013, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), Division of Social Sciences (ÖKUS).

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