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Lebenslagen und Verwirklichungschancen: verschiedene Wurzeln, ähnliche Konzepte


  • Ortrud Leßmann


The paper starts showing how the "conditions-of-life-approach" evolved. Otto Neurath introduced the term "Lebenslage" (conditions of life) as a concept for assessing the life an individual leads. Kurt Grelling has adopted the term but interpreted it in a new way which has been summarized by Gerhard Weisser in the slogan of conditions of life forming the scope for human action. Then the paper gives a short overview of the capability approach of Amartya Sen and Martha Nussbaum. The life a person leads is described by the capability approach as a "bundle of functionings" which she has chosen out of "capability set". Martha Nussbaum focuses on identifying "central functional capabilities". Those two approaches show some similarities: interpersonal comparability is a common theme in Neurath and Sen; Grelling, Weisser and Sen develop a concept of an opportunity set which indicates the scope for action in leading a life and share the idea of its having an impact on human wellbeing. Therefore the concepts need participation when implemented. As a consequence, poverty measurement based on these approaches has to solve two problems: First, it has to take into accountthe multiplicity of dimensions, and secondly, it has to find a way how to measure opportunity sets empirically. Der Beitrag zeigt zunächst auf, wie sich der Lebenslage-Ansatz entwickelt hat. Otto Neurath führt den Begriff der Lebenslage als Konzept zur Erfassung der Lebenssituation von Individuen ein. Kurt Grelling übernimmt den Begriff, interpretiert ihn dabei jedoch neu, so dass Gerhard Weisser die Lebenslage treffend als "Spielraum" bezeichnet. Dann stellt der Beitrag kurz den "capability"-Ansatz vor. Amartya Sen beschreibt die individuelle Lebenssituation als Bündel von "functionings", das vom Individuum aus einem "capability set" ausgewählt wird. Martha Nussbaum verwendet den Begriff "capability" eher im Sinne von Fähigkeiten. Die beiden Ansätze weisen einige Parallelen auf: Bei Neurath und Sen stellt das Thema "interpersonelle Vergleichbarkeit" des Wohlergehens einen roten Faden dar; Grelling, Weisser und Sen verbindet die Idee, dass der Handlungsspielraum eines Individuums Einfluss auf sein Wohlergehen hat. Alle diese Ansätze sind offen für verschiedene Auslegungen dessen, was Wohlergehen bedeutet. Sie erfordern daher für ihre Umsetzung Partizipation. Armutsmessung auf Grundlage dieser Ansätze muss zum einen multidimensional konzipiert sein und zum anderen das Problem lösen, wie sich individuelle Handlungsspielräume empirisch erfassen lassen.

Suggested Citation

  • Ortrud Leßmann, 2006. "Lebenslagen und Verwirklichungschancen: verschiedene Wurzeln, ähnliche Konzepte," Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung / Quarterly Journal of Economic Research, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 75(1), pages 30-42.
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwvjh:75-1-3

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Phipps, S., 1999. "The Well-Being of Young Canadian Children in International Perspective," Department of Economics at Dalhousie University working papers archive 99-01, Dalhousie, Department of Economics.
    2. Amartya Sen, 2005. "Human Rights and Capabilities," Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(2), pages 151-166.
    3. François Bourguignon & Satya Chakravarty, 2003. "The Measurement of Multidimensional Poverty," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 1(1), pages 25-49, April.
    4. Sen, Amartya, 1991. "Welfare, preference and freedom," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1-2), pages 15-29, October.
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