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A Relational Account of Nussbaum's List of Capabilities

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  • Pinar Uyan-Semerci
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    Nussbaum's capabilities approach is based on a universalistic account of central human functionings. She claims that if central human capabilities are located within a particular kind of political liberalism, then they can become specific political goals and the object of an overlapping consensus among people who otherwise have very different comprehensive conceptions of the good. This paper reconsiders these arguments on the basis of fieldwork conducted among migrant women living in squatter settlements of Istanbul. By going through Nussbaum's list of central human capabilities, I elaborate their relevance in terms of the existing, stated and desired capabilities of these women. In doing so, I underline the importance of thinking about capabilities in relational terms and challenge the concept “autonomous agency”. I also demonstrate the (im)possibility of separating the political and non-political realms, particularly in issues regarding religion and family, and argue for the need to redefine the boundaries of the political within the capability framework.

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

    Volume (Year): 8 (2007)
    Issue (Month): 2 ()
    Pages: 203-221

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    Handle: RePEc:taf:jhudca:v:8:y:2007:i:2:p:203-221
    DOI: 10.1080/14649880701371034
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