1st Edition

Wellbeing, Justice and Development Ethics

By Severine Deneulin Copyright 2014
    136 Pages
    by Routledge

    136 Pages
    by Routledge

    The question of the meaning of progress and development is back on the political agenda. How to frame this discontent and search for new alternatives when either socialism or liberalism no longer provides a satisfactory framework? This book introduces in an accessible way the capability approach, first articulated by Amartya Sen in the early 1980s. Written for an international audience, but rooted in the Latin American reality - a region with a history of movements for social justice - the book argues that the capability approach provides to date, the most encompassing and promising ethical framework with which to construct action for improving people’s wellbeing and reducing injustices in the world.

    Comprehensive, practical and nuanced in its treatment of the capability approach, this highly original volume gives students, researchers and professionals in the field of development an innovative framing of the capability approach as a 'language' for action and provides specific examples of how it has made a difference.

    Introduction 1.  Development and ethics  2. Living well: Wellbeing and agency  3. Acting justly: Relations and responsibility  4. Assessing and transforming social realities  5. The forming and speaking of the language  Conclusion


    Séverine Deneulin is Senior Lecturer in International Development, Department of Social and Policy Sciences, University of Bath, UK

    Combining conceptual analysis and case studies, this book shows that poor people, their capabilities and agency, must be the foundations of the kind of thinking about well-being and justice that will prepare us for a 'post-development' world, in which the artificial constructs of North and South are replaced by the much more tangible and universal divides between haves and have-nots.

    –Duncan Green, Oxfam International

    Within the world of development policy, there has been a very well-justified push for the so-called "evidence-based policy making". However, these entail the risk of creating an illusion of "objectivity", which hides the system of ethical values behind specific prescriptions. This book does a great job of providing a solid normative framework for policy: widening the set of effective options people have to live the life they have reason to value. Many of the practical implications of such a framework are discussed in this work, which hopefully will become a reference for anyone engaged in the difficult task of policy advice.

    –Luis F. Lopez-Calva, Lead Economist and Regional Poverty Advisor, Europe and Central Asia Region, The World Bank

    "Wellbeing, Justice and Development Ethics claims to be decision and action focused by showing the reader how the approach can help him or her to frame decisions and actions that lead to increased well-being and agency and more just relations between people and the environment. It also emphasizes that the capability approach should be used as a flexible normative language rather than seen as a dogmatic set of principles."

    –European Journal of Development Research, Sylvia I. Bergh, Erasmus University, The Netherlands