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The Capabilities Conception of the Individual


  • John Davis


This paper advances a capabilities conception of the individual, and considers some of the problems involved in developing such a conception. It also makes claims about the nature of the capability space as a whole, frames personal development in terms of the idea of moving though the capability space, and argues that people are alike in being increasingly heterogeneous. A key problem for a capabilities conception of the individual is that some capabilities, such as belonging to social groups and having social identities, can undermine individuality. The paper discusses an example in which people can have social identities but can nonetheless be relatively independent when seen as self-organizing. Brief comments on one goal of social economic policy as being identity-promoting conclude the paper.

Suggested Citation

  • John Davis, 2009. "The Capabilities Conception of the Individual," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 67(4), pages 413-429.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:rsocec:v:67:y:2009:i:4:p:413-429
    DOI: 10.1080/00346760903254250

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

    Cited by:

    1. Malida Mooken & Roger Sugden, 2014. "The Capabilities of Academics and Academic Poverty," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(4), pages 588-614, November.
    2. Mabsout, Ramzi, 2015. "Mindful capability," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 86-97.
    3. repec:hal:journl:dumas-00906152 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Andrea Vigorito, 2011. "Bibliography on the Capability Approach 2010--2011," Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(4), pages 607-612, November.


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