Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

The capabilities approach and critical social policy: lessons from the majority world?

By Mick Carpenter


The capabilities approach (CA) most closely associated with the thinner and thicker versions of Sen and Nussbaum has the potential to provide a paradigm shift for critical social policy, encompassing but also transcending some of the limitations associated with the Marshallian social citizenship approach. The article argues, however, that it cannot simply be imported from the majority world, rather there is a need to bear in mind the critical literature that developed around it. This is generally discussed and then critically applied to case studies of CA in the developed capitalist world, particularly the Equalities Review conducted for the Equality and Human Rights Commission

Topics: HV, HM
Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd.
Year: 2009
OAI identifier:

Suggested articles


  1. (2007). A Capability Approach for Official German Poverty and Wealth Reports: Conceptual Background and First Empirical Results, IAW Discussion Paper 27, Tübingen: Institut fur Angewandte Wirtschaftsforschung,
  2. (1975). A Realist Theory of Science, doi
  3. (1985). A Sociological Approach to the Measurement of Poverty - A Rejoinder to Professor Amartya Sen‟,
  4. (1985). A Sociological Approach to the Measurement of Poverty: A Reply to Professor Peter Townsend‟,
  5. (1991). A Theory of Human Need, doi
  6. (1999). A Theory of Justice, doi
  7. (2004). Capabilities and Disability: the Capabilities Framework and the Social Model of Disability', doi
  8. (2007). Capabilities, Human Rights and the Challenge to Workfare‟, doi
  9. (1950). Citizenship and Social Class, and Other Essays, Cambridge: doi
  10. (2005). Developing Capabilities and Rights in Welfare to Work Policies‟, doi
  11. (2000). Development and Quality of Life: A Critique of Amartya Sen‟s Development as Freedom‟, doi
  12. (1999). Development as Freedom, doi
  13. (2005). Europe and the Politics of Capabilities, Cambridge: doi
  14. (1969). Four Essays on Liberty, doi
  15. (2007). From Negative to Positive Equality Duties: The Development and Constitutionalisation doi
  16. (1995). From Redistribution to Recognition? Dilemmas of Justice in a
  17. (2008). Germany: The growing Gulf between Rich and Poor,
  18. (2000). Globalization and the Limits of Neoliberal Development Doctrine‟, Third World Quarterly, doi
  19. (2005). Happiness: Lessons from a New Science, doi
  20. (2002). Human Rights: An Interdisciplinary Approach, doi
  21. (1998). In Defence of Critical Realism‟, doi
  22. (2008). Joint Committee on Human Rights doi
  23. (2002). Lists and Thresholds: Comparing our Theory of Human Need with Nussbaum‟s Capabilities Approach‟, paper to Conference on Promoting Women‟s Capabilities: Examining Nussbaum‟s Capabilities Approach, St. Edmund‟s College, doi
  24. (2008). Out-thought by the Tories‟,
  25. (2005). Policy Coordination, Social Indicators and the Social Policy Agenda in European Union‟, doi
  26. (2006). Pragmatism and the Capability Approach: Challenges in Social Theory and Empirical Research‟, doi
  27. (1995). Rethinking Poverty‟, doi
  28. (2007). Rethinking Social Recovery in Schizophrenia: What a Capabilities Approach Might Offer‟, doi
  29. (2007). Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor
  30. (2001). Symposium on Amartya Sen‟s Philosophy: Five Adaptive Preferences and Women‟s Options‟, doi
  31. (2005). The Capabilities Approach: Its Development, Critique and Recent Advances,
  32. (2005). The Capability Approach: A Theoretical Survey‟, doi
  33. (1989). The Equalities Review (2007) Fairness and Freedom: The Final Report of the Equalities Review,
  34. (2005). The Moral Significance of Class, Cambridge: doi
  35. (2000). The Theme That Dare Not Speak its Name: Class and Recent British Film‟,
  36. (1998). The Third Way: The Renewal of Social Democracy, doi
  37. (2002). Universalism Without Foundations?‟ doi
  38. (2000). Values for a Godless Age: The History of the Human Rights Act and its Political and Legal Consequences,
  39. (2006). We Should Have a Bill of Rights to Stop MPs Medding, say Tories‟, The Times,
  40. (2005). Why the Capability Approach?‟ doi
  41. (2002). World Bank Development Policy: A SAP in SWAPs Clothing‟,

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.