Sen's Entitlement Approach: Critiques and Counter-critiques
Twenty years after Poverty and Famines elaborated the entitlement approach as an innovative and holistic approach to famine analysis, debates about some of its fundamental assertions remain unresolved. This paper examines four limitations acknowledged by Sen himself: starvation by choice, disease-driven rather than starvation-driven mortality, ambiguities in entitlement specification and extra-legal entitlement transfers. It concludes that Sen's approach is significantly weakened, both conceptually and empirically, by its methodological individualism and by its privileging of economic aspects of famine above sociopolitical determinants. A complementary analysis is required, one that recognizes the importance of non-market institutions in determining entitlements, famine as social process and epidemiological crisis, and violations of entitlement rules in the complex emergencies that typify most contemporary famines.
Volume (Year): 29 (2001)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
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