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The Sen Conception of Development and Contemporary International Law Discourse: Some Parallels


  • Chimni Bhupinder

    (Jawaharlal Nehru University)


The Sen conception of `development as freedom' represents a departure from previous approaches to development that focused merely on growth rates or technological progress. Sen however fails to adequately address the social constraints that inhibit the realization of the goal of `development as freedom.' There is an interesting parallel here with developments in contemporary international law. While contemporary international law incorporates the idea of `development as freedom' in international human rights instruments, in particular the Declaration on the Right to Development, mainstream international law scholarship has like Sen failed to indicate the constraints in the international system that prevent its attainment. Since Sen is today among the foremost thinkers on the idea of development reviewing the parallels between his conception of development and mainstream international law scholarship is helpful as it offers insights into the limits of both.

Suggested Citation

  • Chimni Bhupinder, 2008. "The Sen Conception of Development and Contemporary International Law Discourse: Some Parallels," The Law and Development Review, De Gruyter, vol. 1(1), pages 3-22, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:lawdev:v:1:y:2008:i:1:n:2

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Nelson, Paul J., 2007. "Human Rights, the Millennium Development Goals, and the Future of Development Cooperation," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 35(12), pages 2041-2055, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Mazhuvanchery Shiju Varghese, 2010. "The Indian Competition Act: A Historical and Developmental Perspective," The Law and Development Review, De Gruyter, vol. 3(2), pages 241-270, May.
    2. Ordor Ada, 2015. "Tracking the Law and Development Continuum through Multiple Intersections," The Law and Development Review, De Gruyter, vol. 8(2), pages 333-360, December.

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