Capabilities, social rights and European market integration
This paper explores the links between the economic notion of 'capabilities' and the judicial concept of social rights. We begin by revisiting TH Marshall's classic analysis of social rights and their ambiguous relationship to the market. We then examine how far Amartya Sen's Capabilities Approach provides a framework for locating social rights within a market setting. We argue that Sen's non-dogmatic, context-orientated approach to defining the meaning of capabilities offers a viable way forward for thinking about the current tension between market rights and social rights in the European Union. This argument is illustrated by reference to the role played by mechanisms of corporate social responsibility in promoting gender equality.
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