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‘Operationalizing’ the capability approach as a basis for equality and human rights monitoring in twenty‐first‐century Britain

By Tania Burchardt and Polly Vizard


This article examines a new capability‐based measurement framework that has been developed as a basis for equality and human rights monitoring in twenty‐first‐century Britain. We explore the conceptual foundations of the framework and demonstrate its practical application for the purposes of monitoring equality (in terms of the distribution of substantive freedoms and opportunities among individuals and groups) and human rights (in terms of the achievement of substantive freedoms and opportunities below a minimum threshold) in England, Scotland and Wales. The article challenges the sceptical position by suggesting that ‘operationalizing’ the capability approach is both ‘feasible’ and ‘workable’. A new two‐stage procedure for deriving a capability list is proposed. This combines human rights and deliberative consultation and strikes a balance, we contend, between internationally recognized human rights standards and principles on the one hand, and direct deliberation/participation on the other, in the development and agreement of capability lists

Topics: H Social Sciences (General), HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform, HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Year: 2011
DOI identifier: 10.1080/19452829.2011.541790
OAI identifier:
Provided by: LSE Research Online
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