chapter  4
25 Pages

Assessing and transforming social realities

The book has so far described the capability approach as an open-ended normative language with which to assess situations from the perspective of human freedom, in its dual dimensions of wellbeing and agency. It has argued that, by doing so, it provides some frame for social and political action. The book has also emphasized that the language is not fixed and has a rather limited vocabulary. It contains a few keywords which actors are free to combine, use and supplement the way they view the most appropriate for the context they seek to assess and transform. The language is dynamic in that the meaning of its keywords varies according to the reality in which it is spoken. Should freedom be about capability or functioning? Should valuable functionings be about a set of predetermined sets of beings and doings that are believed to be characteristic of a fulfilled human life, or should it be determined according to context?