Humanizing development: taking stock of Amartya Sen’s capability approach

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Pablo Garcés Velástegui


Amartya Sen’s capability approach redefined development in terms of people and their quality of life. Since development suggests the idea of positive change, it highlights what is worth changing, the desirable outcome and the desirable way to achieve it. This influential framework has succeeded in engaging different disciplines in constructive debate. There is a growing, and dispersed, literature adding and critiquing it. Hence, providing a current conceptual account of the approach, on its own terms, to assess its contribution to the project it undertakes, address its alleged shortcomings, and point to avenues to further the debate seems warranted. This is particularly timely given its 30 years of influence over public policy, as evidenced by the United Nations’ Human Development Reports

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