An introduction to the human development and capability approach
Author(s)/Editor(s): Deneulin S, Shahani L
Publication date: 2009
“The textbook is divided into three parts: Concepts, Topics and Policy. subsequent chapters. Chapter 3 situates the approach within the context of other schools of thought and development thinking as a whole.
The first three chapters provide the conceptual foundations of the human development and capability approach. Chapter 1 discusses the importance – indeed, the unavoidability – of value judgements in development and public policy in general. It illustrates that different normative frameworks lead to different actions and consequences in people’s lives. Chapter 2 introduces the fundamental principles of the approach, and constitutes the conceptual foundation for all
The second part is divided into separate topics and presents a human development angle into each one. There is no particular reason why the topics are arranged in this way, and they can be read in a non-linear fashion. Chapter 4 discusses the topic of economic growth and describes different views about the role of economic growth in promoting human flourishing.
Chapter 5 reviews theories of justice and examines where the approach stands in relation to them. Chapter 6 deals with the topic of measurement, which is central to policy-making since it enables policy-makers to identify target groups in need of intervention. Chapter 7 analyses the role of institutions and markets in expanding people’s opportunities to live the lives they value. Chapter 8 discusses democracy and political participation as mechanisms through which people become agents of their own destiny.
Chapters 9 and 10 discuss two topics to which human development has often been reduced: education and health. Chapter 11 analyses how the topics of culture and religion have been addressed in development studies and critically discusses the contribution of the human development and capability approach. Other topics could have been added, such as a specific chapter on gender, or one on the environment, or another on conflict. However, we have limited ourselves to the topics above for practical reasons of time and length. It will be up to the teachers using this textbook to supplement the chapters with other topics relevant to human development.
The third part deals with policy considerations. Chapter 12 describes the many areas of policy that the human development and capability approach touches upon, and offers useful tools for policy analysis. Chapter 13 collects different policy case studies that can be used as a teaching method to prepare students in human development policy-making and practice.