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Freedom, Reason, and More: Feminist economics and human development


  • Julie Nelson


Researchers sensitive to issues of gender have made substantial contributions to the literature on economic and cultural development. Discussion of how feminist analysis might affect the definition of development goals, in a broader philosophical sense, has, however, been less advanced. This essays seeks to further this discussion, taking as its starting point the economist and philosopher Amartya Sen's influential insights about 'development as freedom' and the role of reason. It argues that these important insights need to be complemented by (not supplanted by) additional insights into affiliation and emotion. People deeply desire connection, continuity, and a sense of place, as well as freedom, and use their hearts as well as their minds to guide their actions. Cultural neglect of the human need for affiliation and capacity for emotion may help explain why economic outcomes continue to be characterized by extreme global disparity.

Suggested Citation

  • Julie Nelson, 2004. "Freedom, Reason, and More: Feminist economics and human development," Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 5(3), pages 309-333.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jhudca:v:5:y:2004:i:3:p:309-333
    DOI: 10.1080/1464988042000277224

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    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Elizabeth Stanton, 2007. "The Human Development Index: A History," Working Papers wp127, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
    2. Ondřej Horký, 2011. "Falešná neutralita neoklasické teorie: feministická, antropologická, evoluční a ekologická kritika
      [The False Neutrality of the Neoclassical Theory: Feminist, Anthropological, Evolutionary and Ecol
      ," Politická ekonomie, University of Economics, Prague, vol. 2011(3), pages 329-344.


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